Ye Olde China on 5th Avenue
China is changing at such a rapid pace, the old socialist realism and patriotic romanticism of the ’50s through ’80s is receding from memory and practice. Occasionally, I find relics of that past, when the store China Books and Periodicals — a Maoist outpost on 5th Avenue and 20th Street in New York City — sold heaps of graphic propaganda to innocent capitalist children for 25 cents up to $1. The idea wasn’t to make profit (although the paper probably cost more to ship to the U.S. than to print in China) but to make hay with malleable American minds.
I scarfed up scores of these below. Today the same storefront is a TUMI bag shop. Ah the joys of high rents and capital.
Additional Resource Never miss another great design article by Steven Heller and subscribe to Print magazine today. You can now read it your way, whether that’s a printed copy or pdf or on the device of your choosing.
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →