* Please click HERE to see a slideshow of the 12 designs *
The London 2012 Olympic Committee unveiled its 12 official Olympic and Paralympic posters, created by the UK’s top contemporary artists.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) commissioned 12 artists (six for the Olympics and six for the Paralympics) to create the official posters. A panel, led by Tate director Nicholas Serota, narrowed down a long list of 100 potential artists to 12 of the UK’s finest. These artists will join the ranks of Andy Warhol and David Hockney, who have also created Olympic posters.
“We are delighted that British artists have produced such compelling images in response to the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Serota said in a press release.
Some of the artists chosen by the committee sparked controversy. Tracey Emin is best known for pieces like “My Bed,” which featured a disheveled bed with empty vodka bottles and used condoms and “Everyone I’ve Slept With,” a pop-up tent adorned with names.
However, the piece Emin created for the Paralympics is quite tame compared to her past works. Two birds are perched above a branch kissing. Scribbled words above the birds read “You inspire me with Your determination And I Love You.”
“I thought about what I wanted to see and what would make me feel good because this is about feeling good and celebrating what we have. It is not just about sport. It is also about courage and determination,” Emin told the Guardian.
The posters were snubbed by some media critics as questionable choices for the Olympics. Howard Hodgkin’s abstract painting, “Swimming,” is one of the ones under fire. The piece was compared to a “blue blob” in the UK’s Sun and a child’s art project in the Daily Mail. The large blue swirl of paint was, in actuality, designed to match the fluidity of swimmers moving in the water.
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The union of art and sport dates back to 1912 when Stockholm created the first official poster and advertising campaign for the Olympics. Like the London posters, Stockholm’s were not without controversy- the official poster was barred from many public places due to the nudity of the men proudly waving nation’s flags.
The Queen received a set of the London 2012 prints for the Royal Collection, the Government Art Collection. The collection will be on display at Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence. The British Council also recieved prints. Their collection will be used in a “UK Now” exhibit, shown across China.
The images can be seen in a free exhibition at the Tate as part of the London 2012 Festival. They can also be purchased for seven pounds (about $11.25) on the London 2012 Web site.