Lonely Planet Writer

Maps are art in a thought-provoking New York exhibition

A new exhibition of New York City maps and cartography-based artworks considers the place on the map where information visualisation is an artistic endeavour, and where artworks convey information. You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping, is currently running at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, and it contains a selection of 19 cartography-based works by contemporary artists, designers and data analysts.

You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping at Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Photo: Jason Mandella Photography

The exhibition features three commissioned pieces by Christine Gedeon, Ekene Ijeoma, and Doug McCune, based on census information about immigrants in the city as well as a range of existing artworks in multiple media forms. Their challenge was to combine artistic precepts, analytical skills, and cartography to provide insights about some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. The resulting works show that artists can bring much to data visualisation, offering inventive ways of enhancing our understanding of city life.

You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping at Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Photo: Jason Mandella Photography

The thought-provoking exhibition is curated by Katharine Harmon, author of You Art Here – NYC: Mapping the Soul of the City, with Jessie Braden, co-founder and director of Pratt Institute’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative. Last year, Katharine’s book collected 200 maps created between 1600 and 2015, showcasing the numerous ways one could begin to approach “mapping the soul” of NYC. The exhibition addresses questions currently surfacing in the art and design zeitgeist. These include the forms in which information visualisation becomes art, and how artists can make data visible.

You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping at Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Photo: Jason Mandella Photography

You Are Here NYC: Art, Information, and Mapping, runs until 15 November 2017 at Pratt Manhattan Gallery. There will be a panel discussion on 14 November at 6.30pm, moderated by Jessie Braden and including artists Doug McCune, Jer Thorp, and Sarah Williams. For further information, see here.