Sunday, May 26, 2013
New York City: Pop Art - Fun With Dictators
On Lafayette Street, which goes from East Village to Chinatown in Manhattan, I saw a huge billboard using North Korea´s dictator Kim Jong-il for a vodka advertisement. The board portrays him in the style of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a character in some James Bond movies, who used to cuddle a cat while giving his vicious commands (wikipedia). The advertisement has the slogan: "American Quality - North American Pricing".
And there is more of this kind at New York`s Lower East Side. On Prince Street, 2 blocks East of Lafayette Street, one of New York´s ubiquitous street artists anonymously made also fun of the late North Korean leader. He sprayed a mural of him on a construction wall with the message: "Kim Jong fun".
Also on Spring Street, closer to Lafayette Street, another dictator was ridiculed and merged into a kind of McDonald`s clown. Not sure if the fast food giant does approve.
Fun with dictators isn´t a new development. In the year 1940 Charlie Chaplin made his famous movie "The Great Dictator" (imdb). A Google research shows a lot of dictators who became icons of pop art (google). You might also remember Andy Warhol`s famous print of Mao Zedong (andywarhol).
It seems we don`t get rid of those dictators. They seem to live forever - at least in their incarnations of pop art.