Apollo Subscribe

The lows and highs of Olympic art

28 July 2016

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

With little more than a week to go before the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, excitement is running high – not least on the part of media watchers predicting the games will turn out to be a disaster.

Fortunately, the doom-mongering hasn’t affected the traditional artistic celebrations of sporting prowess. In the city’s port area, graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra is attempting to create the largest mural ever painted by one man, while in Australia, primary school children have been invited to send in Olympics-themed daubs to decorate the Aussie section of the Athletes’ Village

Here in London, where rosy memories of the 2012 games still linger, a giant fibreglass sculpture of swimmer Rebecca Adlington has been unveiled in Hyde Park’s Serpentine as part of cereal brand (and Team GB sponsor) Kelloggs’s Great Starts campaign. (As Tony the Tiger might have put it, as public sculpture it ain’t exactly Grrrr-rreat.)

As for the Olympic logo itself, it seems to have gone down rather better than in years past. Readers may remember the furore surrounding the ‘puerile’ branding for London 2012, which sparked diatribes from design commentators. Memorably, writer and critic Stephen Bayley was so outraged by the supposedly condescending design values that he was moved to burn a heap of Olympic merchandise on camera for Vice

Indeed, the branding for Rio 2016 seems to have been a hit with any number of unlikely demographics. Last week, police in the city’s Lapa district seized more than 90 packets of cocaine from drug dealers ­– many of which were embellished with the livery of the games. Seems somebody got rather carried away with the Olympian ideals of, erm, high achievement.

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.


Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up today to receive Apollo highlights direct to your inbox – and be the first to know about Apollo events, special offers, and what’s in the latest issue

There’s never been a better time to subscribe to Apollo magazine. Start your subscription today with 3 issues for £10.