Conceived and designed by Frida Escobedo, No. 9 was an exhibition held at the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery of Columbia University’s GSAPP. The show explored the history of La Ruta de la Amistad (Route of Friendship), a monumental public sculpture project that was launched as part of the cultural program for the 1968 Olympic Games. Comprised of a network of nineteen monumental sculptures, or “stations,” designed by artists from seventeen countries, the project stretched across Mexico City’s then burgeoning beltway, the Periférico.
Escobedo extracted the history of artist Todd Williams’s ninth station, reconstructing the sculpture’s original steel skeleton from archival photographs and construction documents. Escobedo’s new sculpture—as an alternative, more intimate interpretation of the Route’s official narrative—provided the name for the exhibition by proposing a typeface of Arabic numerals based on the sculpture and with the precedent of the seminal graphic and typographic project developed on the occasion of the 1968 Olympic Games celebrated in Mexico. We had enough conceptual material to design graphic elements that worked as a complement to the museographic project, as well as publicity and support materials: a poster with color variations inspired on those of the original sculpture, as well as a publication with archive material.
Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery
GSAPP Exhibitions Director
Archival material comes from the Architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez Archive, who was president of the Organizing Committee for the 1968 Olympic Games, and from the personal archive of artist Todd Williams.