The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography
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The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  211 ratings  ·  24 reviews
As seen in O: The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Cool Hunting, and countless other media outlets, The Map as Art is available now in a paperback edition. This volume by Katharine Harmon, author of our best-selling book You Are Here, extends that book's celebration of mapmaking to the world of artists' maps.

It is little surprise that in an era of...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Princeton Architectural Press (first published September 23rd 2009)
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Lisa Vegan
Nov 21, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: modern art fans; for ideas for art therapy projects with children and adults
Shelves: art, non-fiction, reviewed
I adore maps, maps in books, maps by themselves, all sorts of maps. I expected to love this book.

It was okay. The maps included contain many that use the term map extremely loosely.

The essays are, for the most part, interesting. The maps? Well, I thought many were highly creative. I’d say I liked to loved the art of about 20%-33% of them and liked to loved maybe 50%-67% of the maps as (sort of) maps, some of them the more atypical examples. I found most of the art and text interesting. With som...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Arsty-fartsy. I'm not ignorant, but I don't have the true sensibility of an artist, a person who wants to explore philosophical ideas through creation of something startling. So some of these seem like they might be cool if we could actually see them performed (if appropriate), or at least in a gallery, instead of reduced into a book. But most left me cold. I did like the little essays which often gave enough insight to help me appreciate the intent of the author more. But stuff like seeing the...more
Zioluc
Le mappe e la cartografia nei lavori degli artisti contemporanei. Di ciascun autore son presentate da 2 a 5 opere, per la maggior parte realizzate tra il 2000 e il 2008. C'è di tutto, dalle mappe di posti inventati a quelle di aspetti intimi dell'artista, dall'impegno sociale e politico al gioco alla pura estetica. Per chi è patito di mappe, un vero piacere da sfogliare pagina dopo pagina. I miei preferiti probabilmente sono Ingo Gunther con i suoi globi tematici e le città di fantasia fatte di...more
Matt
I had stumbled across this book while browsing through Amazon, and picked it up solely based on my interest in the topic. This can be dangerous, as art books can vary wildly in quality - sometimes, as The Map as Art makes clear, swinging to both extremes within the same book.

The Map as Art's biggest success is in its diversity - it collects a stunning array of artists, in terms of material engagement, thematic/conceptual concerns, and cultural/ethnic background. The map is a marvelously potent...more
Kris
"Geographers submit to a tacit agreement to obey certain mapping conventions, to speak in a malleable but standardized visual language. Artists are free to disobey these rules. They can mock preoccupation with ownership, spheres of influence, and conventional cultural orientations and beliefs." (p. 10)

"Creative geographer and author Denis Wood writes, "Map artists...claim the power of the map to achieve ends other than the social reproduction of the status quo. Map artists do not reject maps. Th...more
Kerfe
This book is all about the visuals--contemporary artists using mapping as a starting point for their work. Whether city or landscape, body or mind, real or invented, interior or exterior, photographic or abstracted, "maps are always subjective representations of the world." A multitude of approaches, with some wonderful and unexpected results.

Among my favorites: Charles Ross's "Star Maps", the Bambanani Women's Group "Body Maps", the aboriginal songline maps, Ian Hundley's quilt map, Chris Kenny...more
Ryan Mishap
While I don't have a "shelf" for art books on Goodreads or in my home, I thought this would be ab interesting look-see, especially for Tracy can be captivated by maps.

The artists range across mediums (and talent). The works range from altered maps, photos of conceptual works, paintings of the place on a map where the U.S. has bombed someone (66 paintings so far, included the Philadelphia police bombing of MOVE shown in the book), to some wacko who mapped her sweat, converted it into rainfall sta...more
Ann
Art inspiration book with many formats of map as art. I loved the illustrations and the stories about the artists and their work,
Jamie
A lovely book with several strange, endearing, and mind-boggling interpretations of maps. My favorites included:

-Clothing maps of Corriette Schoenaerts

-Ai Weiwei's "World Map"

-Mail art maps of Harriet Russell and Peter Dykhuis

-The brutally simple and arresting map of the equator by Adriana Varejao

-Altered book maps by Jonathan Callan and Mariele Neudecker

-and my favorite, hands-down: the amazingly brilliant steamroller that maps Los Angeles on a beach by Carl Cheng.
Jenny
A fascinating overview of the use of cartography in contemporary art. The artists range from the well known and internationally famous to self taught artists who share their work on-line or in the coffee shop where they work. All of them use maps, spacial representations of journeys, atlases and/or globes in their artwork.

A diverse collection of works and media are shown. The accompanying essays provide additional information about specific artists.
Jen
There were some beautiful pieces and some silly ones, but overall I appreciated like 90% of the artists showcased in this book. I have an odd affection for maps though. Some of these aren't maps in the strictest of sense. I'll have to re-read it, as I only read the bits that seemed the most interesting. Quality book. If I saw this in a used book store, I would totally buy it.
Ralph McEwen
Interesting art works. I recommend using a magnifying glass for see some of the finer details. I found several of the pieces very interesting and would like to see them in person. Most are abstracts which I never seem to get, my failing not the artists. Over all a book well worth the time to read or at least look at the pretty pictures.
Kris McCracken
A collection of work from contemporary artists who have utilised the idea of the map to express their vision. Using paint, food, salt, souvenir tea towels, nude bodies, and a whole lot more, you can see how artists have been able to explore a world free of geographical constraints. B-.
Allen
Working in GIS, I see a lot of boring maps. This book had anything but boring maps. It was nice to see how artful a map can be. It was actually quite inspiring. My only complaint about the book is that I would have liked to see more maps that are both artful and useful.
Anna
Although some of the text was a little convoluted, the art pieces were amazing. It seems like a pretty comprehensive work on most current artists who work with maps and space. I can only hope that art continues to go into this direction so more books like this will emerge.
Tony
Delightful and varied; dad and son carving a globe, a map of Europe in clothes with a real boot for Italy, a 3 dimensional crime map of London with peaks to represent statistics. A fine browse though it would be great to see the full-size maps for the details.
Serena
A map always represents a sort of longing for me, and this book delivers both the factual and imaginative sides to that longing. The art is stunning, all sorts of medium, style, and scope are represented.
Kati
Much of the text is surmising this and reading too much into that, and some of the "maps" are a stretch, but a beautiful book and heavily sprinkled with great finds.
Ben
An excellent collection of map-themed and map-inspired artwork in a vast variety of styles/mediums. Amazing creativity on display.
Kevin
Fascinating, wide-ranging look at the junction of art and cartography. Some political, some touching, some beautiful.
Brenda B
Such a beautiful book. Excellent read for map-addicts and art lovers. Inspiring.
Althea
Finished the day of New Years Eve, some very cool ideas and views!
Michelle
I want to marry this book! :)
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Katharine Harmon is a Seattle-based writer, editor, and book producer. She is a frequent speaker on the intersection of creativity and cartography, and has curated gallery exhibitions in New York and London, and at the Kemper Museum in Kansas City.
More about Katharine Harmon...
You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination

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