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Issue No. 18 - Humanity

Alberto Korda at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Image above: © Alberto Korda, Waiting to see Fidel Castro outside the Statler Hotel, New York. Tuesday, April 21, 1959 / courtesy of Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

 

Alberto Korda_Pro-Cuba demonstrators in Harlem, New York. September 1960Image above: © Alberto Korda, Pro-Cuba demonstrators in Harlem, New York. September 1960 / courtesy of Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Sous Les Etoiles Gallery and the Alberto Korda Estate announces the first survey exhibition of photographer Alberto Korda’s 1959 and 1960 visits to the US with Fidel Castro. The exhibition, titled “Korda in America,” is comprised of over 60 black-and-white images, almost all of which have never before been seen or exhibited. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, December 17, 6-8pm, and a Talk with Diana Diaz, daughter of Korda, is scheduled for Monday, December 21, at 7pm.

Alberto Korda_Fidel Castro with American children Jack and Jeff, whose surname is also Castro, Washington. Saturday, April 18, 1959Image above: © Alberto Korda, Fidel Castro with American children Jack and Jeff, whose surname is also Castro, Washington. Saturday, April 18, 1959 / courtesy of Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

“Korda in America,” shot during Fidel Castro’s historic first visits to America in April of 1959—at the invitation of the American Society of Newspaper Editors—and September of 1960, is a testament to both Cuba’s and Korda’s enduring significance. Korda, reporting for the newly created Cuban newspaper Revolución, documented Castro, both the man and political figure, as no other photographer was able. In the span of approximately fourteen days between Washington, New York and Boston in April of 1959, Korda documents a whirlwind of activity, capturing not only the public face of the 33-year-old Prime Minister of Cuba, but also the relaxed, intimate, and even humorous moments throughout the visit. Despite the US government’s increasing concerns over Castro’s political plans, the seductive personality of the charismatic leader was conscientiously chronicled by Korda. In addition to his photojournalism duties, Korda also reveals his lifelong passion for fashion photography and feminine beauty. After photographing the bearded former guerilla fighter in olive-green fatigues on the set of NBC’s Meet the Press as he explains his impressions of the “nice and noble” US citizens, Korda turns his attention to an anonymous model in a smart suit who poses alongside the police barricades of New York as the crowd waits for Castro to drive down the street.

Alberto Korda_At the Bronx Zoo, New York. Friday, April 24, 1959Image above: © Alberto Korda, At the Bronx Zoo, New York. Friday, April 24, 1959 / courtesy of Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

This timely exhibition, curated following the recent thaw in US-Cuba foreign relations and marking the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s televised Statement, offers an historical insight into a time fraught with tension, yet hallmarked by the spellbound attention of the crowd, impressing America’s long-held fascination with Cuba and its struggle for freedom.

Alberto Korda_Waiting to see Fidel Castro in front of the Cuban Embassy, Washington. Friday, April 17, 1959Image above: © Alberto Korda, Korda_Waiting to see Fidel Castro in front of the Cuban Embassy / courtesy of Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez (1928–2001), otherwise known as Korda and best known for his image of Che Guevera, was the accompanying photographer to Fidel Castro for ten years, the auteur of several of the most iconic images of the Cuban Revolution, and the most versatile Cuban photographer of his generation. Born the son of a railway worker and a housewife in Havana, Cuba, Alberto Korda went on to photograph such important historical figures and luminaries as Nikita Khrushchev, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre, and was awarded the Cuban ”Palma de Plata” in 1959 and the National Culture Distinction, Ministry of Culture, Cuba in 1994. The work of Alberto Korda may be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Center for Cuban Studies, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; The International Art Heritage Foundation; Maison de la Culture de la Seine Saint-Denis, Paris, France; and Mexican Council of Photography, Mexico, among others.

On view until January 30, 2016 at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery located at 560 Broadway #603, New York, NY 10012

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