October 18, 2014 - Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo - Lance Wyman
October 18, 2014

Lance Wyman

Courtesy Lance Wyman.

Coming and Going
Lance Wyman: Urban Icons 

October 18, 2014–February 22, 2015

Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC
Centro Cultural Universitario
Insurgentes Sur 3000, Coyoacán. 04510
México, D.F.

T +52 (55) 5622 69 39 / +52 (55) 5622 69 72
difusion [​at​] muac.unam.mx


Curated by Pilar García

Over the past five decades, the figure of Lance Wyman has remained a cornerstone of contemporary design, and his work has become an essential component for understanding the visual culture of our time. Widely recognized, Wyman’s work is based on his unique dialogue with the sociocultural context that envelops his projects. Each icon, each line, each image responds to an intense exchange with its environment, resulting in a visual grammar that is closely linked to local reality and deeply rooted in the place’s collective imagination.

De ida y vuelta (Coming and Going) is the first solo exhibition to truly spotlight Lance Wyman’s work. The exhibition focuses on the heart of his oeuvre: design as an urban concept. The presence of his icons remains active in the Mexican imaginary from a social, cultural, and urban perspective, while his work itself marks a before and after in the history of national design. 

The projects in the exhibition were selected for their influence on the visual identification of urban life in Mexico and around the world. Urban furniture, sketches, photographs, and interviews will be deployed in an attempt to reveal Wyman’s creative processes of abstraction and research toward the successful completion of each project. 

His presence in Mexico accompanies a period of rapid transformation in urban design and the city’s striking growth called “stabilizing development.” The Mexican state, interested in projecting an image of progress and modernization, promoted a boom in the automobile industry as well as the construction of important architectural and transportation works like the Viaducto (viaduct) and the Periférico (ring road), which unquestionably transformed the city’s appearance. 

Lance came to Mexico City in 1966 with the goal of participating in the international design competition for the iconography of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. A graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute, Wyman had solid experience in the fields of graphic and industrial design, having worked at the offices of George Nelson, who is considered the father of industrial design in the American style and an important contributor to the Herman Miller furniture company. For the 1962 International Exhibition in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, he began to explore the idea of building—in three dimensions and on a monumental scale—the logo identifying the participation of the American pavilion. His logo for the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico was chosen, so he was subsequently integrated as a graphic designer into the Olympic Program team headed by the architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. A particularly noteworthy contribution was the development of icons for the Cultural Olympiad, which appeared in the Olympic Program for the first time. This collaboration marked the beginning of a series of experiences that would deepen Wyman’s links with Mexico, helping to define a new way of understanding contemporary graphic design and registering it as a key protagonist in the evolution of visual identification. His work in Mexico presented him with the task of creating functional signage through visual design, integrating within the urban space a wayfinding system that could overcome the limitations of language.

While Wyman is best known in our country for his projects on the Mexico City metro and the Central de Abasto (central wholesale market), his work transcends borders: he has designed graphic systems for transportation, orientation, and wayfinding around the world in countries like Canada, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. Among his most significant projects are the Washington Metro, the Edmonton PedWay, the National Zoo in Washington, the Minnesota Zoo, the Washington Mall, the Pennsylvania train station, and the St. George Ferry Terminal in New York. 

After the Metro, Wyman settled for a time in Mexico, contributing to projects like the 1970 World Cup, the development of brand identities for the private industry and institutions like the Hotel Camino Real, HYLSA, Peñoles, the Presidente Chapultepec hotel, the self-service store deTodo, the pasta brand La Moderna, Vanity, Monterrey’s MARCO museum, and the children’s museum Papalote Museo del Niño.

The current exhibition, organized by and displayed at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC, or University Museum of Contemporary Art), seeks to encompass the range of Lance Wyman’s graphic design and its influence on the urban environment beyond our own territory, where his icons and signs have become urban references that permeate the collective imagination. Wyman has managed to establish a permanent communication system through symbols, and these symbols are now clear evidence of the way in which an image is capable of transmitting an effective message through the use of minimal elements.


Lance Wyman at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC
Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo
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