Imagine if New York ever hosts the Olympics; the amazing team of artists who’d be tapped to design the posters might almost make the bankruptcy and citywide construction site worthwhile. Following in South Africa’s footsteps after the 2010 World Cup host tapped artists both local and international for a series of poster, the 2012 Olympics in London will be accompanied by a series of posters designed by Tracey Emin, Rachel Whiteread and ten other mostly London-based and YBA-associated artists.
The posters by Emin, Whiteread, Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith will be available for purchase in the fall, and go on view in a free exhibition at the Tate. The most surprising choice—aside from the likely controversy over Emin’s selection—is the merciful absence of one Damien Hirst, who would probably paint some shark jaws in an Olympic ring-like formation.
The dozen artists straddle a nice cross-section of austere, conceptual work (Anthea Hamilton, Whiteread) and colorful expressionism (Chris Ofili) and post-Pop art (Gary Hume, Bob and Roberta Smith). I’m especially curious to see what Fiona Banner comes up with, in light of her monumental work (see below) that so often seems aimed at undermining the kind of quasi-neo-imperialist British nationalism that will no doubt pervade all the Olympic pomp.