Tracey Emin to Design Olympic Posters With Ofili, Craig-Martin

Tracey Emin and 1948 Olympics Poster
Tracey Emin poses at London's Tate Britain Gallery on June 20, 2011, in front of a 1948 Olympics poster. Emin is one of 12 artists chosen to design posters for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Source: LOCOG (London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) via Bloomberg.

Tracey Emin, the British artist known for graphic representations of her sex life and aborted pregnancies, is one of 12 visual artists commissioned to design posters for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The other chosen names include Martin Creed, Chris Ofili, Michael Craig-Martin, Howard Hodgkin, Rachel Whiteread and Bridget Riley, organizers said at a media presentation held at London’s Tate Britain.

“It’s a moment when one can show how strong British art is and has been over the last 20 or 30 years,” said Tate Director Nicholas Serota, who was on the panel that picked the artists. “It’s a contribution by the host country to the games.”

The artists will receive a small fee, organizers said, without saying how much or disclosing the poster budget.

Also present was Sebastian Coe, the ex-Olympic runner who is the chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

Emin, in cowboy boots and gray Bermuda shorts, said the brief was for the posters to be “really identifiable with what we do, so for me that could be a bit tricky!”

“I might just draw in landmarks of London -- whether it’s the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, bridges,” she said, “and then within it put very nice words about encouragement, relief, challenge, all of those kinds of things.”

Her aim, said Emin, was to “not compromise” and, at the same time, “feel good with what I do.”

Artists with previous Olympic posters to their credit include Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

Generally, though, Olympic posters have been done by designers, and are “not interesting to look at now,” said Craig-Martin, one of the 12 commissioned artists.

“The attractive thing about a poster is the fact that it’s a highly public thing,” he said. “There’s something wonderful about having a work that goes out to people in that way.”

The posters, as well as limited-edition prints, will go on sale in the autumn.

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