I just got a delightful surprise in the mail – a preview copy of The Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography by Katharine Harmon. I am a big fan of her earlier book, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (which informed my thinking about maps in my series Milagros), so I was quite honored when she asked me to submit work for her latest book. My piece, Territory, from the series Mapping the Body is reproduced on page 144 as an example of “Personal Terrain: Maps of Intimate Spaces.” I am in some very good company – the pages of this book include works by 350 artists including Maya Lin, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, and more. Katharine Harmon writes in the introduction:
“Spend time immersed in the world of artists’ maps in this book, letting it steer you through familiar landscapes revealed in new ways and over strange topography resonating with hidden meaning. Contemplate each artist’s use of cartography and consider maps of your own journey. Discover how mysterious, jarring, thought provoking, and gorgeous artists’ maps can be. Wayfinding documents as artworks have never been as diverse, or as stimulating. Mapmaking as a whole is enhanced as each artist makes a mark on a bigger map, calling out I AM HERE.”
My foray into maps began with my series Mapping the Body, in which I often layered maps under kodalith images of the body to convey a sense of a pschychological inner world. I am most often drawn to older maps for both their beauty and their errors. Just as early navigators set sail on uncharted seas, so does the explorer of the self. Some contours of one’s world are known, but many others shift and change and surprise.
The Map as Art will be released this fall by Princeton Architectural Press. You could pre-order copies at Amazon by clicking here.