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New art books on East Germany and Communist China

July 21, 2011 | 10:34 am

Hammer Miss the Cold War? You can satisfy your nostalgia for the Iron Curtain with two books -- one recent, the other coming soon -- that deal with art and culture in Communist China and East Germany, respectively.

"Red: China's Cultural Revolution" focuses on the years 1966 to 1976. The hefty volume features photographs and prints as well as scenes from operas and dance performances produced during the tumultuous era. Many of these works are difficult if not impossible to find in the West, since China was a closed society during the Cultural Revolution. The book recently was published by Jonathan Cape and is written by Jiang Jiehong, an art historian at Britain's Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.

For a look into East German culture, the Wende Museum in Culver City is teaming up with Taschen to publish a book featuring the museum's collection of artifacts from the former Communist country. The book, scheduled to appear next year, will mark the museum's 10th anniversary and include East German objects and artwork from 1949 to 1989.

The Wende Museum, which is open and free to the public on Fridays, houses an archive of Cold War-related artifacts and art work. The museum also features what it says is the longest stretch of the original Berlin Wall outside of Germany.


It Speaks to Me: Sam Durant on a 1953 Cold War poster at the Wende Museum in Culver City

Photographer Frederic Chaubin's weird and wonderful Soviet architecture

-- David Ng

Photo: Nelson Ching / Bloomberg