Shanghai, China: An erased era in 5000 indelible images
There's something very fitting about having to locate the Propaganda Poster Art Center by entering a nondescript apartment complex in the old French Concession sector, finding building B, making your way down a hallway and then tromping down stairs to the basement.
There, for your perusal, is a collection of more than 5000 propaganda prints dating from 1949 (and the establishment of the People's Republic) to 1979, post-Mao, when the posters were destroyed en masse. Luckily, Yang Pei Ming started collecting them, and now he owns and runs this two-room monument to a bygone, mystifying era.
By now, the dominant themes and graphic style of these images is familiar—Mao, workers, battle, Eastern abundance vs. Western oppression, etc.—and there's no shortage of red ink used, but there's plenty here you may not have seen before, such as "We must not fight our brother" posters urging a Vietnam pullout.
Some of the private museum's merchandise is for sale; and some of it is viewable online, thanks to the owner's dedication to keeping this part of China's collective memory alive.