Sunday, August 8, 2010

Che would not be amused...

One of my favorite iconic pop images is the two tone portrait of Che Guevara by Irish graphic artist Jim Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick created the image in 1968 from the photograph Guerillero Heroico by photographer Alberto Korda. Korda took the picture of Guevara in 1960 at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion in Havana, Cuba. Korda was drawn to Guevara's expression which he says showed absolute implacability as well as anger and pain.

Che Guevara died young, good-looking and for his ideals. With is death in October 1967 he was reborn an icon.

Forget the revolution, Che has become a brand and the brand's image is his face. He represents the outside thinker, anti establishment, anti-war, pro-green, pretty much pro or anti anything. His image can be found everywhere from Hot Topic to Parisian boutiques and is used to sell everything from t-shirts to bubble bath.

My favorite is the 1968 painting attributed to Andy Warhol. Using the same graphic processes used on the acclaimed Marilyn Monroe pieces, this painting was a forgery, created by factory regular Gerard Malanga who was in need of money. When Warhol heard of the fraud, he "authenticated" the fake, providing that all the money from sales went to him. Brilliant.

The original photograph by Alberto Korda

Iconic Pop Image of Che by Jim Fitzpatrick

Che by "Warhol"

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