The almost seven-foot artwork hanging on the walls at the W South Beach wasn't quite of Che Guevara, but it looked enough like the infamous infamous Marxist rebel to piss off local Cubans.
"Dude, it's Che Guevara," an anonymous Cuban who does business with the hotel told the Miami Herald. "This is Miami. You don't do stuff like this."
The W had only recently put the portrait on display, but it soon began to get negative feedback. The piece, which is part of one of the owner's private collections, isn't a replica of Jim Fitzpatrick's infamous pop art-inspired portrait, but rather a riff on the image by British artist Gavin Turk. Turk dressed up like Che himself and processed the photo to look like the original. The artist's website makes it clear he's not necessarily honoring the Cuban revolutionary figure, but rather commenting on the iconography of the image.
His website says he was interested in "how images and symbols are reduced to cliché through reproduction and repetition. Turk's Guevara is transformed into a Warholian screen print, where the formerly rebellious is re-appropriated as cliché."
So in a sense Turk's work is complaining about how the image has infiltrated pop culture and found it self on dorm room posters and t-shirts even though people don't know the full story of the man in the image.
Which, funnily enough, is the exact same thing that many Cuban Americans complain about it as well.
Though, the point seemed to be lost on some.
"He was a mass murderer, killed thousands of Cubans execution-style," Gus Exposito, 51, angrily emailed the Herald. "I spoke to the manager and he referred to it as art!"
Others had more of a sense of humor about it.
"This is a big picture of communist revolutionary hanging in a hotel that charges $900 a night for a single room," another person angry at the portrait told the Herald. "Che woulda burned this place down."
Whatever the case, the W has decided to advert further controversy and has taken the portrait down.
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