MEXICO 1968 : THE FIRST GLOBAL LOOK

By The Olympic Museum

Colors on Hill by Nan Zhong / Getty ImagesThe Olympic Museum

THE GAMES HOST COUNTRY AND CITY

Mexico City Mosaic by Keystone / Getty ImagesThe Olympic Museum

A CULTURAL HERITAGE DATING BACK THOUSANDS OF YEARS
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Thousands of years before Christ, in fact.

The country’s unique culture has been forged by the very different stages of its long, rich history: the heritage of the pre-Hispanic civilisations, European colonisation and the war of independence.

Tree of Life, Luis Emilio Villegas Amador / Alamy Stock Photo, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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A “tree of life” is a popular type of clay sculpture in Mexico, always brightly coloured and meticulously crafted. The images depicted vary considerably, ranging from traditional festivals and Biblical scenes to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico City.

The National Museum of Anthropology - Mexico City, Ziko van Dijk / Wikimedia Commons, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City – devoted to the archaeology and history of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic civilisations. It was inaugurated in 1964 and designed by Mexican architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez.

The National Museum of Anthropology - Mexico City, ProtoplasmaKid / Wikimedia Commons, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Cut stone sculpture located at the museum entrance, depicting the Aztec god of rain.

Pedro Ramirez Vàzquez / Alfonso Corona del Rosal, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez with the Mayor of Mexico City at the time of the Olympic Games 1968, Alfonso Corona del Rosal.

Victor Vasarely - Op Art by Interfoto MTI / Getty ImagesThe Olympic Museum

THE MAINS ART TRENDS

Huichol yarn painting by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

HUICHOL FOLK ART

Historically, Huichol art was a sacred, solemn form of art steeped in religion. Traditionally, works consisted of cave paintings, stone sculptures or yarn paintings, and were given as offerings to the gods.

Bursting with bright colours and often featuring “naïve” and enigmatic images, this type of artwork was produced by the indigenous Huichol people of the Sierra Madre in the central-eastern part of Mexico.

In the 1960s, Huichol art gradually became more of a craft, and lost its spiritual dimension.

Huichol yarn painting, Archives du Musée Olympique, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Huichol yarn painting, made by gluing wool into concentric circles on a wooden plaque.

Huichols, Eneas De Troya / Wikimedia Commons, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Huichols.

Huichol shaman, Kila (kee-la) / Wikimedia Commons, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Huichol shaman.

Descending by Bridget RileyThe Olympic Museum

OPTICAL ART - OP ART

This term, which appeared for the first time in a Time magazine article in 1964, describes a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions.

Op Art works are essentially abstract – they give the impression of movement and flashing or vibrating patterns.

They have a destabilising effect on the viewer, producing something between pleasure and displeasure and creating a dizzying sensation similar to that caused by mild intoxication.

Descending, Bridget Riley, photo: Peter Horree/Alamy Stock Photo, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Op Art work by English painter Bridget Riley.

Victor Vasarely - Op Art, Interfoto MTI / Getty Images, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Hungarian plastic artist Victor Vasarely – a major figure in the Op Art movement – in front of his paintings, which give a three-dimensional effect.

Op Art Dress, Nick Giordano / Getty Images, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Dress inspired by the Op Art movement, designed by Italian fashion designer Roberto Capucci.

French Fashions by Reg Lancaster / Getty ImagesThe Olympic Museum

COURRÈGES – STYLE IN VOGUE IN THE SIXTIES

André Courrèges: French fashion designer; promoter of the mini-skirt worn with go-go boots, and trapeze dresses that freed the hips and revealed the legs above the knee; and avant-garde creator, with his futuristic silhouettes.

He was nicknamed the “Le Corbusier of fashion” due to his functional style, which made use of geometric forms, and to the prevalence of white.

Fashion from 1968 - André Courrèges by Fashion show: André CourrègesThe Olympic Museum

Mexico 68 - Logo by International Olmympic Comitee (IOC)The Olympic Museum

THE LOOK OF THE GAMES

Mexico 68 - Logo by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

A SHOCKWAVE

Born from the imagination of Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the Mexico City 1968 Games emblem reflected the fashion of the time: hippy psychedelia.

Mexico 68 - Logo, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Eduardo's Tabla by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

Mexico 68 - Pictograms by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

WARM COLOURS


The colour palette of the visual identity of the Games in Mexico City featured 19 intense shades and a deep black, a reflection of what could be seen and experienced in the country itself!

An attractive and effective range for all forms of communication, whether pictograms, sports posters, tickets or hostess dresses.

Mexico 68 - Pictograms, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The Mexico City 1968 pictograms: 19 for the sports on the programme of the Games, and one for the Olympic Village.

Mexico 68 - Pictograms, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The Mexico City 1968 pictograms: no athlete silhouettes, with the focus instead on sports equipment: a ball, bike, epée, oar, glove, etc., or a part of the body: a foot, hand or arm.

Mexico 68 - Matchboxes, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Each sport had its own colour. And the same colour code was used on posters, tickets and even staff uniforms. This consistency made it easy for the public to find the competition venues.

Mexico 68 - Signage, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The basketball and canoeing competitions are this way.

Mexico 68 - Posters by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

A CLEVER FRIEZE OF POSTERS

When placed together, the posters create a frieze of lines and curves stretching out seemingly for ever!

And each sport has its own colour, its own pictogram, the logo and the rings: this has to be the Mexico City 1968 Games!

Mexico 68 - Poster of Cycling, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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A Woman's Touch by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

Mexico 68 - Posters of the sports, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Mexico 68 - The OG logo at Olympic Village by Kishimoto / IOCThe Olympic Museum

LARGER THAN LIFE


Balloons and papier-mâché figures spread the look and spirit of the Games in the capital.

International Airport of Mexico City, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Balloons set the tone of the Games at the airport.

Mexico 68 - Balloons, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The Games come to the streets.

Mexico 68 - Gymnastics figure, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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At the entrance to each venue, the Judas figures of Mexican folklore were transformed into giant athletes to indicate the sports competition in question: here, it’s gymnastics.

Mexico 68 - Fencing figure, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Here, it’s fencing.

Mexico 68 - Hotesses wearing the official uniform by International Olympic Committee (IOC)The Olympic Museum

A FIGURE-HUGGING LOOK


The visual identity even featured on clothing, with short, fitted dresses: very Courrèges, very sixties.

Mexico 68 - Hostesses' uniforms dress, The Olympic Museum Archives, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Mexico 68 - Welcome of the Japan delegation, Kishimoto / IOC, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Mexico 68 - Hotesses wearing the official uniform, International Olympic Committee (IOC), From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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We’re definitely in Mexico.

Mexico 68 - Hotesses wearing the official uniform, Kishimoto / IOC, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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We’re definitely in the 1960s.

Mexico 68 - Hostesses' uniforms dress, Lance Wyman, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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A total look!

Mexico 68 - Hostesses' uniforms dress, Lance Wyman, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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The trapeze dresses worn by the hostesses at the competition venues had the design and colour that went with the sport on the posters and pictograms.

Mexico 68 - Hostesses' uniforms dress, Lance Wyman, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Mexico 68 - Olympic Torch by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum

AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING LOOK!


All lines and rounded shapes, applied to the main object, the Olympic torch, but also to the souvenir items visitors took home with them from the Games.

Mexico 68 - Crystal lighter, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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On a very sixties lighter.

Mexico 68 - Crystal lighter, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Another lighter.

Mexico 68 - Cardboard sunglasses, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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On cardboard sunglasses.

Mexico 68 - Ashtray, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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On an ashtray.

Mexico 68 - Ashtray, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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Same ashtray, different colour.

Mexico 68 - Ashtray, The Olympic Museum Archives - Collection Osterwalder, From the collection of: The Olympic Museum
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On a different shaped ashtray.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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