‘Hasta La Victoria, Siempre’

The V&A is not my favorite London museum (that would be the Tate) but I was there today because they’re having a special exhibit on Alberto Korda’s iconic image of Che Guevara. A thoroughly enjoyable and informative history of how two photographs, snapped quickly when Che appeared on the balcony during a speech by Castro, have become such emblems of revolution, social change, and guerilla chic, reproduced on everything from T-shirts to Russian dolls. Some of the pieces in the exhibit are well-known, like Patrick Thomas’s “American Investment in Cuba,” which uses U.S. brand names to create the image of Che. But others were new and unfamiliar (to me, anyway), and I do wish there had been more effort to document those. (I wanted to know, for instance, what the poster “Bangla Che” said, but no translation was provided.)