Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Souvenir Mao

Steve Heller, graphic designer extraordinare, who I had the pleasure working with on The Education of a Photographer, has a great article in the current issue of Print Magazine on depictions of Mao in Chinese totalitarian art. During the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the cult of Mao was built on cheap mass-produced porcelain statues depicting Mao, Red Guards, peasants and soldiers. As Heller says, "In this all-out campaign to brand the nation, ideology, and leader - at a time when access to television and radio was limited - these quaint though politically charged souvenirs brought the revolution from the street to the home."

The article is part of a larger study on Totalitarian graphic design to be published by Phaidon in the future. I've had the pleasure of photographing Steve's collection for the book and magazine. Check out the latest issue for a four page spread and look out for what will likely be a fascinating study.