Dispatch from Mexico City: Day One
Hola! Greetings from Mexico City, our next stop on The Olympic City project.
On Day One here, I focused on the Ruta de la Amistad ("Route of Friendship"), a series of 22 large-scale public artworks commissioned for the '68 Olympics from artists around the world, including Alexander Calder, Herbert Bayer, Ángela Gurría and Willi Gutmann. These concrete sculptures line a 10-mile path along a highway which in '68 was south of the city, near where the Olympic Village and massive Estadio Azteca had been constructed. 1968 was a pivotal year in international politics and culture, and these sculptures embody that optimism for the future and the importance of public art.
Before we go any further, watch this incredible video of Raquel Welch dancing in front of some of the sculptures shortly after they were completed! Psychedelic!
The main thing to notice here, besides the dance moves and tin foil bikini, is that there's nothing around those sculptures, they're in the middle of nowhere on a two-lane road. But as Mexico City's population tripled from approximately seven million in 1968 to over 21 million now, that tiny two-lane road looks like this today:
The city has grown around (and very much past) this area, turning it into a traffic-snarled corridor lined with hotels, office buildings, and mega-malls. An elevated highway is also under construction here.
So the situation with these sculptures is in flux, and local and global art conservation groups are attempting to restore and relocate many of the works. Some sites have found corporate underwriters to facilitate this process, such as American Express's sponsorship of Polish artist Grzegorz Kowalski's Reloj Solar:
But many of the works are in extremely poor condition, trapped between buildings, their surfaces and plaques vandalized. Here's Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer's Articulated Wall, one of the pieces Raquel and friends were frolicking in front of:
Bayer has been a personal hero of mine and his work is one of the reasons I became interested in graphic design, so this was pretty depressing. I can only hope the restoration and relocation efforts continue and that all 22 sculptures are saved.
Next up: the Olympic Village and training facilities. Thanks for following along and for supporting the project, and please spread the word.
pledged of $45,000 goal
seconds to go
May 30, 2012 - Jun 29, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $10 or more
You'll receive a digital copy of The Olympic City book, optimized for iPad and other devices.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
Pledge $25 or more
You'll receive a set of 10 printed postcards featuring images from The Olympic City project, plus a digital copy of the book.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
Pledge $85 or more
512 backers Limited (188 of 700 left)
You'll receive The Olympic City hardcover art book (limited edition of 1,000 copies), plus a digital copy of the book, and the postcard set. Includes shipping worldwide.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
Pledge $350 or more
25 backers Limited (50 of 75 left)
You'll receive the deluxe edition hardcover art book, limited to 100 numbered copies and signed by Gary Hustwit and Jon Pack. The deluxe edition features a special binding and includes two original signed 8" x 10" archival color prints (one from each photographer). Plus a digital copy, the postcard set, and worldwide shipping.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
Pledge $1,500 or more
1 backer Limited (9 of 10 left)
You'll receive the deluxe edition hardcover art book (including the two prints, and postcards), plus an original signed 17" x 24" print from The Olympic City exhibition. There will be 25 different images to choose from, each from an edition of 3, and earlier backers will have priority in selecting which image they'd like. Your name will also appear in a special thanks section in the book, and you'll receive invites for two to a private reception with the artists for the exhibition opening in New York City.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
Pledge $2,500 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
Join us in an Olympic city! Spend a day with Jon or Gary exploring and photographing one of the remaining cities in the project this summer or fall. We'll figure out which city and date works best for you. This reward is for one person, and your travel and accommodations are not included. You'll also receive all the rewards of the $1,500 level.Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Pledge $4,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
We come to you! A private screening (okay, more like a slide show and discussion) of The Olympic City project hosted by Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit, for your school, company, or organization, anywhere in North America or Europe. Timing TBD depending on Jon and Gary's schedules. You'll need to cover travel and accommodations, unless you're within a few hours drive of New York City. You'll also receive five copies of the hardcover book, and one copy of the deluxe edition. Contact us if you've got questions about this reward.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013