Experimental Cartography: The Map as Art
What tattoo art has to do with fashion, vintage atlases and Nazi concentration camps.
By Maria Popova
We’ve always been fascinated by maps — through various elements of design, from typography to color theory to data visualization, they brilliantly condense and capture complex notions about space, scale, topography, politics and more. But where things get most interesting is that elusive intersection of the traditional and the experimental, where artists explore the map medium as a conceptual tool of abstract representation. And that’s exactly what The Map of the Art, a fantastic Morning News piece by Katharine Harmon, examines.
(You may recall Schoenaerts from our Geography, Topography, and Everythingography issue.)
These maps come from Harmon’s The Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography — a remarkable collection of 360 colorful, map-related visions of experimental cartography by well-known artists and design thinkers like Olafur Eliasson (remember him?), Maira Kalman (another TEDster), Paula Scher (and yet another), and Julian Schnabel, as well as more underground creatives whose art is greatly inspired by maps. The book also features essays by Gayle Clemans, introducing a richer layer of insight into the work of some of these map artists.
Be sure to read Harmon’s excellent essay below the Morning News images, which offers a fascinating look at the historical relationship between maps and the art movement, both products of the shifting political and aesthetic influences of the time.
Published October 16, 2009