During the course of the past century the Olympic Games has been celebrated and immortalised in a series of iconic posters created by artists and designers as varied and eminent as David Hockney, Andy Warhol and RB Kitaj.
It’s a tradition which has endured since 1912, when each Olympic host city commissioned at least one poster to celebrate the hosting of the Games and, since its launch in 1982, the growing importance and profile of the Paralympic Games.
Now The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is attempting to go one better and improve on this tradition by revealing an impressive roster of a dozen British artists who will each produce a poster for London 2012.
The 12 were whittled down by an expert panel including Nicolas Serota of Tate and Ruth Mackenzie of the Cultural Olympiad, choosing from a longlist of more than 100 artists originally compiled with the help of Tate and the Plus Tate Group (a group of 19 regional galleries across the UK).
There are some familiar names on the list, which encompasses painting, installation and conceptual art. But perhaps controversially for a poster design, there are no graphic designers involved.
The roll call reads like a who’s who of Brit-Art: Fiona Banner, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Anthea Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume, Sarah Morris, Chris Ofili, Bridget Riley, Bob and Roberta Smith, Rachel Whiteread.
The images they produce will be used by London 2012 as part of a high profile campaign to promote the Games. The posters will be shown in a free exhibition at Tate Britain as part of the London 2012 Festival.