Today saw the release of the London 2012 posters. And no, they are not a joke. These are actual ‘posters’ made by actual ‘artists’.
Olympic bashing isn’t cool, it’s a huge achievement that London will be hosting the games next summer, a responsibility that it will no doubt fulfil successfully. But these ‘posters’ deserve a bashing.
For those too lazy to click the link here is one example poster by artist Howard Hodgkin:
Yeah… that is it. Nothing says Olympic games like some blue smudge right?
The Olympics festival site provides this explanation:
“Howard Hodgkin describes his paintings as representational pictures of emotional situations.
For his Olympic print Hodgkin has created Swimming – a deep, swirling mass of blue flooding across the page. In the darkest area of colour the outline of a figure can be made out as if pushing off after a tumble turn.
The fluidity of the brushstrokes perfectly captures the movement of water and the sensation of swimming.”
Sure, if you insist on pretending to have tastes of the higher culture, you will no doubt nod along to that description and even claim you can see the figure doing the tumble turn. Back in the real world… you can’t. You can see the figure if you use your imagination, but then surely the poster should be blank and we should be instructed to imagine a really good poster about swimming.
The only half decent effort was Michael Craig-Martin’s piece “GO”:
A piece that actually looks like it could be related to the Olympics. Any other posters in the set just look like another piece of art when taken out of context.
There’s nothing wrong with this style of posters, it is definitely art. Anything is art these days. But when you have the huge potential of the Olympic games, a worldwide phenomenon, the creative options are almost limitless. There are thousands upon thousands of young creatives, artists & designers out there who could have created wonderful pieces reflective of the modern Olympic games.
So when we are presented with these smudges and doodles it doesn’t just feel like they’ve dropped the ball here, they’ve lost the ball completely.
Maybe I am looking at these posters through the eyes of an advertiser and not an artist. But when does the line lay between creativity and rubbish?
It just feels lazy. How many of these artists sat back after submitting their print, and thought to themselves, “I can’t believe I got away with that!”