Category Archives: Art

Che: The icon and the ad

In the forty years since Che Guevara was executed, his image has become a global phenomenon.

Or as BBC puts it: “The most reproduced, recycled and ripped off image of the 20th century” (the company seems to be living in the past, lol).

Before we go any further, here’s Alberto Korda’s photograph:


And Jim Fitzpatrick’s reworking:


It’s one of the most recognisable images in existence, even if it’s not necessarily tied to Guevara’s communist ideals. His rebel/revolutionary persona has given it credence, and his death in such mysterious circumstances added to the mythology. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez wears a T-shirt with a small portrait (tis here, bottom right of the search).

The image has also been adapted by religious groups such as the Churches Advertising Network:


Trisha Ziff, the curator of a touring exhibition on the iconography of Che, told BBC:

“There is no other image like it. What other image has been sustained in this way?” asks Trisha Ziff, the curator of a touring exhibition on the iconography of Che.

“Che Guevara has become a brand. And the brand’s logo is the image, which represents change. It has becomes the icon of the outside thinker, at whatever level – whether it is anti-war, pro-green or anti-globalisation,” she says.

Its presence – everywhere from walls in the Palestinian territories to Parisian boutiques – makes it an image that is “out of control”, she adds.

“It has become a corporation, an empire, at this point.”

He has to be spinning in his grave at that last comment. Were his revolution to be more widespread — and it is an icon for indigenous peoples in South America — he might accept this cult status as a useful political and ideological tool. But to call it a corporation? An empire?

Am I missing something?

Warhol does Bertie

Bertie Ahern’s foreign exchange shenanigans may well be the first major crisis for this government, but there’s little hope of him stepping down over it.

But as the storm clouds gather ahead of the Taoiseach’s next appearance before the Mahon Tribunal, Michael Nugent has come to the rescue with some welcome levity. I point you toward the Bert, Celia Larkin, Michael Wall and a briefcase of cash as Andy Warhol might have seen them.

Links of the day

Short and sweet because I’m on the verge of a migraine. I love how Mother Nature bitch slaps me on my day off.


Anime protestors meet real police. I can’t believe I went all weekend without seeing this… Fans used figurines to hold a protest against a distributor in Singapore. Police sent four anti-riot vans. (Reuters/Textfiend)

Inside politics — of youth and age (again!) A look at the fairly sprightly Fine Gael and aging Labour Party. (Harry McGee)

5,800-year-old mass graves from Tell Brak, Syria Evidence of a massacre at one of the oldest known cities. (

Antique ivory skull statuettes Creepy yet strangely beautiful. (Boing Boing)

Britney Spears at the VMAs… If you like train wrecks, check out the footage of a totally out of it Britney ‘performing’ her latest single. Thoughtfully contrasted with her “Slave 4 U” stint at a past show. (Rick O’Shea)

Spanish ‘granny’ dissects past and present on blog. María Amelia Lopez is 95 and kicks ass. A great story I wish I’d seen for today’s foreign pages of the Irish Examiner. (International Herald Tribune)

Links of the day

Things that caught my eye when I should have been doing something more productive:

The mother of all battles: It’s a dance off! Princess Stomper produces this amazing video of characters from Morrowind, Oblivion and Guild Wars shaking their collective booties in a bid to resolve once and for all which is the greatest RPG of all time. Or at least have a lot of fun. (

Cool dude: A lone dreamer in the Aboriginal art boom. A lovely profile piece of Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, one of Australia’s best-known painters but a man who cares not for the trappings of fame and fortune. (International Herald Tribune)

Paranoid, much? Ethiopia accuses Norway of ‘destabilising’ region. That modern imperial power, Norway, is under fire for “repeated and widespread interference in destabilising the Horn of Africa”. All goofing aside, there are serious issues regarding the conflict with Eritrea. (AFP)

May the force be with them: NASA shuttle to launch Luke’s lightsaber. The original prop is going along with shuttle Discovery on its trip to the ISS in December. (

I have got to get me one of these: Practical fuel cells for electronics. Hydrogen fuel cells could run laptops for 50 hours at a go. (Technology Review)

These people can’t catch a break: Poor roads cost Cameroon cocoa farmers dear. A rubbish infrastructure means farmers get their beans to traders three weeks late — after the price had dropped. (Reuters)

The cows are screwed: The end of the world’s grasslands as we know them?  Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may prompt the large-scale conversion of grasslands to a landscape of woody shrubs, one study claims. (

Cheap plug: Policeman suspended for hugging bailed star. The story of the day as far as I was concerned while working the desk yesterday! Nine coppers are in trouble for welcoming Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt on his release from prison. (Irish Examiner)

All-round solutions: Blackwater flies… Blackwater Security, which provides “security solutions” to the US military in Iraq, is creating its own airforce. Feckin’ hell. (Scholars and Rogues)

I can empathise: The internet — why it’s better than real life. Glad to see I’m not the only one, though I have yet to embrace the likes of MySpace or Linkedin. (Sunday Business Post)

Big numbers: Iraqi pilgrims sent home amid violence. One million people have been ordered out of Karbala after 26 people die in two days of shootings. (AP/CBS)

Mothers’ boys: Even gangsters need their mamas. Nicaragua tackles gang violence by relying on guerrilla street cred and mothers’ love. Would this work in Limerick I wonder (sorry, cheap shot)? (

Everyone loves treasure


A Norse horde uncovered by a father and son metal-detecting team is causing quite a stir in England.

The 10th Century find — conservatively estimated to be worth £750,000 (E1.1m) — is the biggest such find since the 1840s and has coins and all sorts of cool stuff from as far afield as Afghanistan and Ireland (thieving Viking feckers).

The Examiner is running an article on it in the July 20th edition. I’ll post a link when it goes online. You can read it here or you could nip out to the shop and buy a copy of the paper, thus keeping me in a job (a feat I admit will be somewhat difficult for the 46% of my visitors who are from North America).

Commentary posts have been few and far between recently apart from my Iraq rant and bit on clerical sex abuse. I should have at least one up over the next few days, possibly two if my brain is in the right gear.

Update: the first post I have in mind will be a personal one about music. It’s almost written in my head but alas the flesh is weak at this hour of the morning (2am by my reckoning). Not like anybody but me gives a damn.