By Jerome A. Cohen
Here are some good photos of 1980s China from the South China Morning Post, China in the 1980s: photos from a time of hope and optimism.
For color photos of China in the 1970s and ‘80s, people might also want to see the book my wife, Joan Lebold Cohen, and I published, CHINA TODAY AND HER ANCIENT TREASURES (Harry Abrams, 1st ed. 1974, 2nd 1980 and 3rd 1986). In addition to a long text, half authored by Joan, the book has 400 of her photos of ordinary life as well as art objects some of which were touted by the Mao government as recently excavated during the Cultural Revolution (in order to show continuing reverence for China’s past!!). To my amazement the Book of the Month Club bought 25,000 copies of the 1st edition. I was an academic whose university press books had never had a photo and never sold more than 2,500 copies, so I felt that Joan, a great photographer and a student of China’s art and politics, had put me on Broadway!
Those interested in PRC art, politics and artists might already know of Joan’s groundbreaking book published by Abrams, a leading art publisher, in 1986, THE NEW CHINESE PAINTING, 1949-1986. In retrospect, the post-Mao period seems like a Golden Era in some respects.