Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, And The 1968 Olympics by Luis M. CastañedaSpectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, And The 1968 Olympics by Luis M. Castañeda

Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, And The 1968 Olympics

byLuis M. Castañeda

Paperback | November 1, 2014

Pricing and Purchase Info

$44.91 online 
$45.50 list price
Earn 225 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 3-5 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In the wake of its early twentieth-century civil wars, Mexico strove to present itself to the world as unified and prosperous. The preparation in Mexico City for the 1968 Summer Olympics was arguably the most ambitious of a sequence of design projects that aimed to signal Mexico’s arrival in the developed world. In Spectacular Mexico, Luis M. Castañeda demonstrates how these projects were used to create a spectacle of social harmony and ultimately to guide the nation’s capital into becoming the powerful megacity we know today.

Not only the first Latin American country to host the Olympics, but also the first Spanish-speaking country, Mexico’s architectural transformation was put on international display. From traveling exhibitions of indigenous archaeological artifacts to the construction of the Mexico City subway, Spectacular Mexico details how these key projects placed the nation on the stage of global capitalism and revamped its status as a modernized country. Surveying works of major architects such as Félix Candela, Pedro Ramírez Vázquez, Ricardo Legorreta, and graphic designer Lance Wyman, Castañeda illustrates the use of architecture and design as instruments of propaganda and nation branding.

Forming a kind of “image economy,” Mexico’s architectural projects and artifacts were at the heart of the nation’s economic growth and cultivated a new mass audience at an international level. Through an examination of one of the most important cosmopolitan moments in Mexico’s history, Spectacular Mexico positions architecture as central to the negotiation of social, economic, and political relations.

Luis M. Castañeda is assistant professor of art history at Syracuse University.
Title:Spectacular Mexico: Design, Propaganda, And The 1968 OlympicsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.8 inPublished:November 1, 2014Publisher:University Of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816690790

ISBN - 13:9780816690794

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents



Introduction: The Exhibitionist State

1. Diplomatic Spectacles: Mexico Displays Itself at World’s Fairs  
2. Archaeologies of Power: Assembling the Museo Nacional de Antropología
3. Image Machines: Mexico ’68’s “Old” and “New” Sports Facilities
4. Total Design of an Olympic Metropolis
5. Subterranean Scenographies: Time Travel at the Mexico City Metro

Epilogue: Olympic Afterlives


Editorial Reviews

"Castaneda makes an essential contribution by articulating the role that architecture and design, in all its variants, had in the expression, exertion of control, and propaganda of the midcentury Mexican state."—CHOICE"Spectacular Mexico does a wonderful job at describing the complex history of the design and events leading to the 1968 Olympic Games."—Journal of Design History"Spectacular Mexico is unparalleled in its capacity to educate and enlighten the design and planning professions about the importance of symbolism in the built environment, and about the capacity of architects, planners, and urban designers to construct meaningful narratives and build monumental projects with long-lasting impacts on cities and nations."—Planning Perspectives"Spectacular Mexico is a work of noteworthy rigour, bound by way of the academic traditions of critical historiographic analysis, which ultimately offers a thoroughly detailed gaze into the historic fabric of mid-twentieth-century Mexico."—Journal of Architecture"In accessible and well-written prose, this is a complex and rich text that adds to the body of knowledge by positioning the multiple significances of modern architecture, design, and art within political culture and the state building and glorification of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional."—Hispanic American Historical Review"A marvelous contribution to Mexico City’s historiography."—H-Net/H-War"Luis M. Castañeda fills an important gap by. . . extending the list of architects and buildings much further than the traditional survey book. . . a rigorous analysis of the politics behind the design and construction of structures that helped define twentieth-century Mexico."—Mexican Studies