Jacob Lawrence, the black American painter, produced a kinetic image of black relay runners flying around the track towards the finish line for the 1972 Games in Munich. English painter David Hockney was recruited for the Sarajevo Winter Games in 1984 – he set aside his canvases for a photo collage that captures the speed and movement of a figure skater’s turns. Andy Warhol was also among the speed skaters for these games.
The show is divided into sections, mostly chronological, that trace the games from the early days, when they were promoted with classic imagery, to the rampant influence of nationalist imagery, and the gradual transition from cartoon drawing. handmade in hard-edge design.
“We wanted to make sure that we had posters here that represented not only the evolution of the graphics, but also key political moments,” Chacón said.
He pointed out that the poster for the 1924 Parisian games features a javelin thrower in front of a globe, a sign of how France viewed itself as an empire in the post-war era. The poster for the 1932 Los Angeles games features a tinted photo of a male character.
A trio of posters for the 1936 Berlin Olympics is imbued with Hitler imagery – one poses the Olympic flag flying over the new Führer Stadium in Berlin, which is itself lined with tiny Nazi flags. Another features a male athlete with his head tilted skyward, his arm raised outside the frame. While it still contains references to heroism and the past, it is visually condensed into a message of victory. They were “very biased in the images they chose and in the way they presented those images,” he said.