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Poster for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, California

Poster for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles, California

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Description (Brief)
Jonathan Borofsky’s poster is part of a fifteen poster set commissioned by the Los
Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC) for the Games of the XXIIIrd
Olympiad in 1984. The signed limited edition (750) prints were created by both internationally known American artists and young emerging local artists selected by the Committee to commemorate the Games, and Los Angeles’ and the United States’ unique contribution to the contemporary art scene.
The modern Olympic movement, founded by Baron de Coubertin, emphasized the development of a ‘total person’ and included art and a cultural Olympiad as a creative complement to athletic demonstrations. Posters have acted as a primary expression of the Games since the modern revival in 1896; each represented by an official poster. They have also served as announcements, souvenirs, fine art prints, and visual reminders throughout the history of the Olympics, ancient and modern.
Borofsky (1942- ) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and received his BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University. He earned an MFA from Yale University in 1966 after attending Ecole de Fontainbleau in France. Previously well-known for his energetic multi-media gallery installations his current work has been dedicated to outdoor public commissions. Borofsky has made a name for himself in recent years with works such as “Hammering Man” – a large-scale continuation of mechanized beings that made appearances in his earlier work. He currently lives and works in Maine.
Borofsky’s poster incorporates a reoccurring running man image seen in much of his early gallery work. This image overlays a silhouette of Eric Heiden, a long track speed skater who won an unprecedented 5 Olympic gold medals in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. His signature at the bottom of the work is accompanied by a number, also a trademark of his. Borofsky began counting in the late 1960s while working in New York and the number signifies where the place in his count while completing the poster.
The 1984 Summer Olympics, also known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad were held in Los Angeles, California with 140 countries, 5,263 men and 1,566 women athletes participating. These Games were boycotted by fourteen countries, including the Soviet Union because of America’s boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. American Carl Lewis won four gold medals in track and field while Joan Benoit won gold for the U.S. in the first women’s marathon. Mary Lou Retton dominated women’s gymnastics becoming the first American to win the gymnastics all-around competition and the American men won the gold in the gymnastics team competition. With the addition of women’s only events of rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming and the addition of women’s events in track and field, shooting and cycling, women athletes were just beginning to see results from Title IX legislation of twelve years prior. The United States won the medal count with 174.
Currently not on view
Object Name
poster, summer olympics
poster, olympics
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 36 in x 24 in; 91.44 cm x 60.96 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (through Carol Daniels)
Olympic Summer Games: Los Angeles, 1984
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Sport and Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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