You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping, an art exhibition at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery curated by Katharine Harmon and featuring maps in a similar vein to her 2016 book You Are Here: NYC (reviewed here), closed last week (my bad for not getting to it sooner), but in the interest of posterity, here’s Gothamist’s coverage.
Londonist Mapped: Hand Drawn Maps for the Curious Explorer came out last month from AA Publishing. (It’ll be out in North America next February.)
With Picturing America: The Golden Age of Pictorial Maps (University of Chicago Press, March 2017), Stephen J. Hornsby makes the case for the pictorial map as a distinct and significant genre of mapmaking that is worthy of study and preservation.
Because pictorial maps were artistic rather than scientific, Hornsby argues, they were ignored as a subject of cartographic study—“treated as ephemera, the flotsam and jetsam of an enormous sea of popular culture.”1 As such they have not been preserved to the same extent as more strictly cartographic maps. (Being printed on cheap acid paper didn’t help.) But as products of popular culture they were distinctive—and ubiquitous. “By World War II,” he writes, “pictorial maps had created a powerful visual image of the United States and were beginning to reimagine the look of the world for a mass consumer audience.”2 They were so prevalent, I suppose, that they were invisible. Taken for granted. It frequently falls to the historian of popular culture to point out that the common and everyday is, in fact, significant. That’s what Hornsby is doing here.
Opening today at the Osher Map Library in Portland, Maine and running until 10 March 2018, an exhibition of cartographic art called Go Where the Map Takes You: The Intersection of Cartography and Creativity. “Maps show many versions of our world, for many purposes, but their simplest purpose is to show the way from one place to another. The artists in this exhibition have used the techniques of mapping, and maps themselves, to show the way to the metaphorical and the metaphysical. We invite you to explore these artworks and see where they lead you.” Featuring several familiar artists.
Cartographers in the Field: “This Depression-era oil painting was created by USGS field man Hal Shelton in 1940. The painting depicts mapping techniques used in the early days of cartography, including an alidade and stadia rod for determining distances and elevations and a plane-table for sketching contour lines. A USGS benchmark is visible near the top. The straight white lines represent survey transects. Note the ‘US’ marking on the canteen: many of the USGS field supplies were obtained from Army surplus.” [Osher Map Library]
Mapping the Borders, a series of talks, exhibitions and workshops hosted by the University of Sunderland from 18 to 25 November as part of this year’s Being Human festival, includes an art exhibition, a workshop on glass mapmaking, a full day of activities on the 19th, and a number of pop-up talks. [NLS]
Roland Chambers is selling limited-edition prints of his maps for Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. Each print costs £100 and is A2-sized (42 × 59.4 cm); only 100 copies of each will be printed. More at The Verge. I’ve admired Chambers’s work for a while: these are fantasy maps that are less derivative and closer to their original source matter (children’s book illustrations) than the standard fantasy map fare. [Lev Grossman]
Previously: Fantasy Map Roundup.
Joyce Kozloff’s exhibition at the D. C. Moore Gallery in New York, Girlhood, ends tomorrow. (It’s also online.) Kozloff is a mixed-media artist whose work regularly blends the cartographic, the political and the decorative; in Girlhood the media she incorporates are her own childhood drawings.
Kozloff discovered folders containing her carefully preserved grade school art during the emotional process of packing up and closing her parents’ house after their deaths. Her occasionally phantasmagorical and meticulously painted archaic charts offer a dialogue between the youthful wonderment preserved in her elementary school drawings and adult geographical knowledge. These works bear a riveting similarity to her oeuvre of the last 25 years – maps, charts, decorative flourishes, information organized in graphs, and vignettes that expand the worlds depicted.
Ingo Günther’s World Processor project, which projects historical, political, social and environmental data visualizations onto literally hundreds of illuminated globes, gets a writeup in, of all places,
An exhibition taking place now at the New York City Library, Picturing the City: Illustrated Maps of NYC, features 16 pictorial maps from the Library’s collection of illustrations. Running until 9 April 2018, it’s curated by Katharine Harmon, whose book, You Are Here: NYC: Mapping the Soul of the City, came out last November from Princeton Architectural Press. Here’s an interview with Harmon about the exhibition in Print magazine.
This seems as good an excuse as any to take a closer look at You Are Here: NYC. Past time, actually, since I’ve had a review copy in my hands for a year now.
You Are Here: NYC is the third of Katharine Harmon’s map books. The first, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, came out in 2003, the second, The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, in 2010. Harmon’s distinctive style in editing and curating these books, carries over to the present volume.
Mappa Mammalia is a series of maps of places in the shape of animals from Jeppe Knudsen Ringsted and Nicolai Søndergaard. “Each map is honouring a specific class/family/subfamily of animal by naming mountains, seas, lakes, cities etc. after fictional and non-fictional animals falling within each group. For example one map is made in the image of the tiger. That one is called Pantherinae—meaning big cats—and it represents both the tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard and snow leopard. Every one of these big cats then has its own country on the map.” Prints are available; prices start at 249 Danish kroner (around US$40). Despite the name of the series, birds are also featured. [Hyperreal Cartography]
Two recent map-related Kickstarter campaigns:
- Modern Map Art Prints turns a map of a location of your choice into an abstract art print. Already funded.
- Map on Table aims to create a small (42×42 cm) table made up of a laser-cut metal map of New York, London or the world mounted on wooden legs (see above). Not yet funded; campaign runs until 17 October.
In Nicholas Rougeux’s latest project, Between Stations, subway maps “were broken down into the segments between each station and rearranged to fill a common simple shape: a circle. Each diagram shows every segment in a subway system while maintaining geographic orientation (no segments were rotated).” The project page is full of hypnotic animations in which the maps undergo their transformations. Nicholas’s blog post explains the data, code and design behind the project. [Transit Maps]
We last saw Nicholas in August 2016, when I told you about his Interchange Choreography project.
Sara Drake’s 3D maps are a vibrantly coloured, whimsical combination of model-making, painting and sculpture.
I can normally be found carving miniature buildings from balsa wood and bandaging up the resultant scalpel wounds—or with my hands buried deep in wallpaper paste, as I papier mache the map base.
The maps are all hand-built and painted with acrylics, which give great vibrancy and long-lasting colour. The making process is pretty unique and combines a number of different artistic processes. I also use a huge range of materials—both new and recycled and can frequently be found head-first in a skip digging for special treasure! I am always looking for new and exciting techniques and materials to experiment with.