A truck advertising the Che soft drink in Vallegrande, Bolivia
“The Warhol Che,” artist and year unknown, an example of the image’s ubiquity.
The Legacy of an Image
By Michael Casey
Illustrated. 388 pages. Vintage Books. $15.95.
Subject heading in OPAC: Korda, Alberto, 1928-2001. Che Guevara.
Not just in the hearts of revolutionaries, Marxist insurgents and rebellious teenagers, but on T-shirts, watches, sneakers, key chains, cigarette lighters, coffee mugs, wallets, backpacks, mouse pads, beach towels and condoms. He’s not only been used by politicians like the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, to promote their own agendas, but he’s also been employed by merchants to sell air fresheners in Peru, snowboards in Switzerland and wine in Italy.
The supermodel Gisele Bündchen pranced down a runway in a Che bikini. A men’s wear company brought out a Che action figure, complete with fatigues, a beret, a gun and a cigar. And an Australian company produced a “cherry Guevara” ice cream line, describing the eating experience like this: “The revolutionary struggle of the cherries was squashed as they were trapped between two layers of chocolate. May their memory live on in your mouth!”