As children, we were enamored of the bright colors and unabashed optimism (and 'nowness') of the 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles. As adults, we were lucky enough to spend a summer evening immersed in the exhibition "Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles," which was mounted in part via Kickstarter at the WUHO Gallery in 2013. To say her work wowed us would be an understatement. In fact, we have continued to think and talk about it ever since.
That's why we were so excited to find this original Olympics banner (used around the city during the Olympics, and also at the Games themselves). We found ours in a Prairie Village, Kansas antique mall and is now framed and hanging in our Pasadena kitchen. The one in the store was recently found and is presented in the show unframed.
Before Sussman became involved in the 1984 Games, the branding consisted of a red, white, and blue "star-in-motion" logo that was considered inappropriate because of its nationalistic expression of the United States. Sussman and her designers, along with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, decided a new logo should express the culture of Los Angeles and Southern California—particularly Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, and India. By combining the traditional elements of the U.S. flag with new colors and forms, they achieved what architect Jon Jerde referred to as "Festive Federalism." In total, there were 150 designs creating the visual language for the 1984 games. This work won Time magazine's award for "Best of the Decade."