Sunday, May 26, 2013

New York City: Pop Art - Fun With Dictators

(Drivebycuriosity) - New York City is a center for commerce and art. And often both medias are merging. Advertising becomes pop art and vice versa. Sometimes the fusion of commerce and art leads to hilarious results.

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.

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