David Hockney, art poster for the games of the XXth Olympiad, Munich, 1972. Collection of the School of Art Gallery.
Photo by David Hockney, art poster for the games of the XXth Olympiad, Munich, 1972. Collection of the School of Art Gallery.

About the exhibition

The 1972 Munich Olympics had high hopes to convey to the world a new image of peace, coexistence, and friendship for Germany, a recovery from the 1936 Berlin Olympics held during the Nazi regime. With a playful colour palette, minimal security, and a record number of athletes and sporting events, “The Happy Games” were set to be the biggest and best Olympic Games ever. Branding by the graphic designer and typographer Otl Aicher proposed a synthesis between art and sport that would offer visitors an opportunity to “experience humanity as a unified whole, as a model of society without violence or borders” – as part of this vision, a series of beautiful, and strikingly avant-garde posters were commissioned by some of the world’s most celebrated artists.

Unfortunately, the 1972 Olympiad would not be remembered happily, forever marked by the tragic attacks of the Munich Massacre, a terrorist attack which claimed the life of 11 Israeli athletes. Playful Application considers the utopian dimensions of events like the Olympics, which attempt to transcend global crises and strife, sometimes to fatal ends. It presents the stunning poster series that Aicher commissioned in its entirety while framing a discussion of the ideological limitations and possibilities of branding and design.


Curatorial Essay: Playful Application

Exhibition Tour: Playful Application: Designing the Elements of a Notion of Utopia

Adjunct Programming

Playful Application Curatorial Tour and Design Relay Race

Wednesday, September 22, 221
Facilitated on Zoom and live-streamed on the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba YouTube channel.

Ready set go Helvetica! Join us for a design relay race by School of Art design alumni. Moderated by Playful Application curator Shaneela Boodoo, each designers will only have six minutes and twelve slides to present on their work passing the baton to the next one.

Visit the gallery

School of Art Gallery
255 ARTlab
180 Dafoe Road
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm
CLOSED all statutory holidays