Thursday, July 22, 2010

MapBookFest IV: The Map as Art

In which I look at the fourth of the four books covered in Steven Heller's March 7 New York Times review of books about maps.

Katharine Harmon is the editor of the fabulous 2003 collection of map-related art called You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, so it comes as no surprise that The Map as Art is also a strong and well-curated collection.

Where the earlier title encompassed both vintage and current mappy art, however, the newer volume focuses strictly on work by contemporary artists.

There is much to like here, and readers who have caught on to my taste for the arbitrary and whimsical will not be surprised that I have a special fondness for Jerry Gretzinger's randomly generated cartographic empire.

For a book titled The Map as Art, however, it contains quite a few works that stray pretty far into only vaguely mappish abstractions or pieces that, although related to the environment or to place, don't really have much to do with cartography per se. This makes it, on the whole, less appealing to the map geek than You Are Here.

Of course, it is always exciting to recognize the lineaments of the City of Roses!

And there is, to be sure, plenty of cool stuff!

Do I have a personal favorite from the book? Why yes, I do!

...and thus ends the MapBookFest series. Thanks to KarmaSartre for pointing out the Stephen Heller article to me.


Aviatrix said...

I wonder if the "styling by" credit is a snide remark about the child or spouse who left their discarded clothes all over the room. The different last name suggests no, but I have no expertise in modern Dutch nametaking conventions.

Elaine said...

What happened to the boring postcard???

Elaine said...

Never mind.

Dug said...

Yes I also like the "You Are Here" book much better but this one is also "strong and well curated." For some reason though I really hate the map on the cover and I don't think it's because it's upside down.
That Gretzinger map looks a lot like Portland. Imagine no Vancouver (Wash.) I wonder if you can. Nothing to kill or die for....

Jenners said...

I have really enjoyed reading these posts ... you do make a great point for maps being art.