Mexico City Mosaic by Keystone / Getty ImagesThe Olympic Museum
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.
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 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.
Cut stone sculpture located at the museum entrance, depicting the Aztec god of rain.
Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez with the Mayor of Mexico City at the time of the Olympic Games 1968, Alfonso Corona del Rosal.
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, made by gluing wool into concentric circles on a wooden plaque.
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.
Op Art work by English painter Bridget Riley.
Hungarian plastic artist Victor Vasarely – a major figure in the Op Art movement – in front of his paintings, which give a three-dimensional effect.
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 The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum
Born from the imagination of Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, the Mexico City 1968 Games emblem reflected the fashion of the time: hippy psychedelia.
Eduardo's Tabla by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum
Mexico 68 - Pictograms by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum
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.
The Mexico City 1968 pictograms: 19 for the sports on the programme of the Games, and one for the Olympic Village.
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.
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.
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!
A Woman's Touch by The Olympic Museum ArchivesThe Olympic Museum
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.
Balloons set the tone of the Games at the airport.
The Games come to the streets.
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.
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.
We’re definitely in Mexico.
We’re definitely in the 1960s.
A total look!
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 - 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.
On a very sixties lighter.
On cardboard sunglasses.
On an ashtray.
Same ashtray, different colour.
On a different shaped ashtray.