From Los Angeles Times:
It happens every year, under cover of darkness, in the waning days of September. The giant portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square ” he of the Mona Lisa gaze, flushed cheeks and trademark gray suit ” is spirited away and replaced by a new Mao. He looks just like the old Mao.
So little is known about the making (or rather, remaking) of this iconic image, it might as well have materialized out of thin air.
“This venture was considered by the party to be top secret,” said Wu Hung, an art historian at the University of Chicago. “It is not just a painting. It represents Mao himself. People were supposed to worship this image. They wanted to take the artistic and human elements out. Nobody is allowed to ask who did the image. It just magically appears.”