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FTU: Art at the Olympics


The Art Department of Florida Technological University (FTU, now the University of Central Florida) was the only United States University Art Department chosen to officially participate in the 1972 Olympic Games. Held in Munich, Germany, from August 26 to September 10, 1972, the FTU art faculty led by Walter Gaudnek were commissioned to create giant symbolic sails and sculptural elements on primitive boats or floats as part of a two week art marathon ritual. The works were built and painted in full view of the public and sailed across the Olympic Lake in the Olympic Park.

The Special Collections & University Archives and University Archives celebrate this momentous occasion 30 years ago when UCF went to the Olympics!

From left to right: FTU Art Department Chairman, Steve Lotz; Robert Magnusson, FTU 1971 Graduate; and Johann Eyfells, FTU Art Professor. In the background, a detail of a painting by FTU Art Professor, Dr. Walter Gaudnek. The artists-teachers were in Munich to work on a large commission received by Gaudnek from the Olympic Speilstrasse Committee.

Photo: Fran Burke, FTU

FTU art-teacher, Dr. Walter Gaudnek (right, rear) and FTU art students, Fran Burke (left, rear) and Mike Evans (front) frow one of Gaudnek's large paintings on the Olympic Lake. Gaudnek received a commission to create his floating totems from the Olympic Spielstrasse Committee. His FTU colleagues, the Icelandic sculptor, Johann Eyfells, and Steve Lotz, FTU Art Department Chairman, co-created with Gaudnek for the 10 day period of the Spielstrasse activities during the Games.

Photo: Steve Lotz, FTU

FTU artist-professors Walter Gaudnek and Johann Eyfells work on large paintings and inflatable sculpture on the Olympic Lake in Munich. The large, floating totems fulfill part of a commission received by Dr. Gaudnek from the Olympic Spielstrasse Committee. In the background is the Olympic soccer, track, and field stadium. FTU was the only American university represented at the Spielstrasse Activities.

Photo: Kristin Eyfells

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Last updated December 06, 2011 1:02:59 PM

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