Rudolf Herman Eisenmenger, Runners at the Finish Line, Silver Medal 1936

Rudolf Herman Eisenmenger, Runners at the Finish Line, Silver Medal 1936

Whew!  The week’s almost over and Friday’s finish line ribbon flutters around the bend. I hear the wheezing huff of fellow teammates pushing to finish deadlines. The flop of others who put their projects off until next week, pens tapping like seconds ticking.

But we still have a bit of time, so let me interrupt your programming to remind you of some obscure Olympic yore.

As it turns out the Olympic Committee did award medals for painting, sculpture, architecture and literature  from 1912-1948.  Artists weren’t too keen on the idea. The subject matter had to be sport and the competitions were held alongside sporting events. Imagine the feverish writing in the Olympic literary salon. Or paint splattered spectators in Olympic stadium. Surprise – not a lot of takers.

I imagine this picture above is a portrait of most artist’s reaction to the idea. A pack of panicked artists sprinting away, in droves.

Finally, in a fit of reason, the Committee converted the “competitions” to “exhibitions” for the 1952 games in Helsinki. But the few medalists from the brief, well-intentioned but frightfully misguided period were scratched from the Olympic games’ official record. What? Removed. Delete buttoned. I’d love to pull that move on my epic fails.

Where will you find me in the Friday PM pack? Panting to the nearest happy hour for a tall pint of bronze or maybe a glass of gold (chardonnay please).



Banksy ballyhoo

Banksy, Going for Mould, 2012, undisclosed location

Banksy, Going for Mould, 2012, undisclosed location

Let me introduce you to Banksy, hooded British street artist turned red-haute art star. The museum crowd lauds him; the Tate Modern hearts him. Art collectors around the world shell out the big bucks for his indoor work, but his graffiti (outdoor murals), recently set the Olympic Committee’s and British Transportation Police’s teeth to grinding.

According to British law, it’s a punishable offense to use the Olympic rings if you are not a sponsor. The Olympic committee aggressively protects their brand. For months they’ve harassed British small business owners and artists. The Olympic Cafe is now the Lympic Cafe. For a time, only McDonald’s (major sponsor) was permitted to serve fries in the Olympic village. Using the words, “summer”, “gold”, “silver” or “bronze”  in your advertising will court cease-and-desist letters or $30,000 fines from the street roaming brand police. The Olympic committee even hand slapped Kate Middleton’s sister for “copyright infringing” website content. (No time to touch on the story of the sanctioned knitters or the store owner threatened suit for configuring hula hoops like Olympic rings.) Now they want to white wash Banksy.

This mural sports no Olympic symbols. Instead, on-site structures like the decrepit chain-link fence and the molding mattress add clever satire to the story of the unnamed-games pole vaulter.

Its location is secret.

Does this image honor athletes from small underfunded countries who don’t have the resources to compete with wealthy nations? With similar talent but no funding, they have little chance to metal (81 countries attending the Summer Olympics have never metalled). Or is it a dig at the Olympic committee itself? Way to high and mighty, headed for a rotten-mattress face plant. Scoring the lowest mark in court of public opinion.

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