From Memory: Draw a Map of the United States
As my work on the Memory Walks (The World is not Flat) drawings continue, I seem to come across articles or exhibitions which connect with my project. First, it was an article about ostrich egg globes. Now it is an exhibition that is currently showing at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York City. The exhibition is titled “From Memory: Draw a Map of the United States”. This is a project conceived by Hisachika Takahashi from 1971 – 1972.
The following are excerpts from the press release.”From 1971 through 1972, Takahashi, a Japanese artist living in New York, asked twenty-two fellow artists to each draw or paint a map of the United States entirely from memory on the handmade Japanese paper he provided.”"The various contributions are as diverse as the artists themselves: Mel Bochner’s map is a carefully rendered and accurate representation of the U.S., meticulously labeling all of the states; Dorothea Rockburne conceived the U.S. as a gridded three-dimensional cube, listing seemingly random locales such as Chambers St., Rio, Germany and Black Mountain, North Carolina along its horizontal axes; James Rosenquist’s United States is a check drawn on the “Fantastic National Bank of America”, made out to Takahashi, in the sum of the number one followed by so many zeros that it had to be continued on the verso of the drawing; Jasper Johns’s U.S. is composed of a series of deli- cate lines suggesting the footprint of the map with the placement of the larger states and the Great Lakes; Cy Twombly’s single, continuous line forms a pared-down silhouette of the country, with only one period at the end of the hand-written letters “USA”; and Joseph Kosuth’s version of the states is composed solely of two points – indicating the locations of New York and Los Angeles.”
“These drawings reveal a certain sense of shared nascent conceptual consciousness, without formal limitation, in their widely varied responses to Takahashi’s request. The works that comprise From Memory exemplify the undercurrent of artistic thought in this period by virtue of the idea of a single iconic structure – the map – recalled only from memory and subsequently represented as a direct translation of an idea that surpassed linguistic dependence.”
This is the drawing done by Brice Marden.
This is the drawing done by Mel Bochner.
Thinking about this exhibition, I am thinking about how the way in which draw maps and represent our memories are distinctive “fingerprints” for each person. More thoughts about this, but they are going in my sketchbook – visual thinking…