I have been stopped a couple of times by tourists just outside my apartment building looking for a place called the Propaganda Poster Art Center. It seems that Tripadvisor’s map is slightly off and its directing tourists and culture enthusiasts to the wrong place. So being something of a culture enthusiast myself (and also a person who gets an immense sense of self satisfaction from giving accurate directions) I thought I’d go and have a look. My parents are in town so we all went together. The research my Dad found on the internet stated it was in an inconspicuous apartment tower block and I found the address as 868 Huashan Lu. Armed with this information we found the block with no trouble, however when we got there there were no signs to the museum. We were furtively lurking by the entrance when a security guard popped out proffering a small piece of paper with a map of the block printed on it. And the words Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center. Similar furtive lurking must be a regular occurrence. When we found our way in to the museum we paid ¥25 (about £2.50) and went straight inside. The museum kind of looked ever so slightly amateurish and sort of half finished, but this did not detract from how fascinating it was. During the Maoist era the Chinese government produced a raft of propaganda posters showing the Chinese population appearing to enjoy happiness and prosperity, they showed how strong the Chinese were and how weak and feeble the American and British people were. This includes several from the time of the Cultural Revolution. These posters are fascinating and gruesome, they’re sometimes beautiful and not infrequently ever so slightly homoerotic. It is a huge collection which is incredible considering most posters were destroyed. In 1995 founder Yang Peiming started his collection. Interestingly, he was asked to acquire some Shanghai Lady posters (a glamourous style of advertising from the 1930s) and the wrong shipment arrived, it was instead full of propaganda posters and the Shanghai PPAC was born.
If in Shanghai this is definitely a place to visit and the address is 868 Huashan Road, near Wukang Road (and not in my apartment block). Enjoy!