The W South Beach has
taken down a piece of art inspired by the image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara after it upset some in the Cuban exile community.
The work by British artist Gavin Turk was taken down from the W South Beach on Tuesday. It featured Turk’s own face but with the scraggly beard, beret and revolutionary garb worn by Guevara in a now iconic 1960 photograph by Alberto Korda.
W Hotels want to be cool, and for some reason I’ve never quite managed to fathom (probably because I’m decidedly uncool), Che Guevara is ‘it’ with the trendy set.
- Helped set up Cuba’s secret police and forced labor camps
- Was responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners
- Tortured prisoners (this included children)
- Called himself “Stalin II” (though he felt Soviet totalitarianism didn’t go far enough and preferred North Korea as a model
How is it that a man who pushed for a Cuban ban on rock music and jazz became so culturally hip?
Surely the popularity of Guevara emanates from an ignorance of who the man actually was.
As Alvaro Vargas Llosa reported five years ago, young Argentines have taken to sporting shirts emblazoned with the putdown, “I have a Che T-Shirt and I don’t know why.” The Australian band The Clap sings of the “Che Guevara T-Shirt Wearer” who has “no idea” of who he is.
One imagines that the W South Beach just thought the artwork embodied the warmth of cool, but in removing the artwork they’ve declared the property not just for Stalinists anymore!