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Imago Mundi

The International Journal for the History of Cartography

ISSN: 0308-5694 (Print) 1479-7801 (Online) Journal homepage:

Maps, Mapping, Modernity: Art and Cartography in

the Twentieth Century

Denis Cosgrove

To cite this article: Denis Cosgrove (2005) Maps, Mapping, Modernity: Art and Cartography in the
Twentieth Century, Imago Mundi, 57:1, 35-54, DOI: 10.1080/0308569042000289824

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Published online: 18 Aug 2006.

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Download by: [] Date: 07 September 2017, At: 08:35

Maps, Mapping, Modernity:
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century


ABSTRACT: While the history of cartography has freed itself from debilitating debates over the scientific and
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artistic status of maps, considerations of the relationship between art and cartography have continued to
focus largely on pre-modern maps, avoiding critical examination of twentieth-century art and science in
cartography and leaving intact the impression that these followed distinct paths in the modern period. In this
paper, however, I have drawn on theoretical work in Science Studies and taken account of modern arts
separation from aesthetics to suggest that an examination of art and cartography in the twentieth century
should focus on mapping practices rather than on maps as such. A summary overview of modern-art
movements and selected works indicates a continued, if critical, engagement of avant-garde artists with
cartography, and the examination of more popular newspaper artwork produced in the context of the
intensely modern visual culture of mid-twentieth century Los Angeles indicates a similarly close connection
between modernity, art and cartography.
KEYWORDS: Art, cartography, Modern art, Modernism, avant-garde, Charles H. Owens, science studies,
Southern California, popular culture, newspaper maps.

Among the many questions opened up within the functions to early-modern painting and portraiture
history of cartography by the past quarter-cen- within courtly culture, and a principal attraction of
turys theoretical turn is that of understanding the antique maps for collectors remains their aesthetic
relationships between map making and artistic qualities. Unsurprisingly the relationship between
practice: art and cartography, for short. Some the two practicesart and cartographycame
immediate parallels are found between the images under scrutiny in the 1980s as historians of
of pictorial art and those of cartography. Both cartography sought to bring new critical thinking
practices are concerned with technical questions of to bear on the interpretation of maps and tried to
content selection and emphasis, medium, line, broaden our understanding of mapping practices,
colour and symbolization, and both require similar not least the conventional historiography of carto-
decisions about form, composition, framing and graphys evolution from art to science.
perspective.1 As items of quality craftsmanship and When the geographer Ronald Rees surveyed
beauty, early-modern maps have served similar historical connections between art and cartography

c Denis Cosgrove is Alexander von Humboldt professor of geography, at the University of California Los Angeles.
Correspondence to: Dr D. Cosgrove, Department of Geography, UCLA, 1170 Bunche Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los
Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Tel: (1) 310 825 1912. E-mail: ,

Imago Mundi Vol. 57, Part 1: 3554

# 2005 Imago Mundi Ltd ISSN 0308-5694 print/1479-7801 online
DOI: 10.1080/0308569042000289824
36 D. Cosgrove

in 1980, historians of early-modern art, such as art, and then dwell more substantively on the ways
Samuel Edgerton, Juergen Schulz and Svetlana both avant-garde and popular expressions of
Alpers, were exposing the scale of shared theore- modern art have engaged with the science of maps
tical and technical interests among artists and and mapping.
mapmakers in Italy and the Low Countries.2
David Woodward brought these art historians Art, Science and Cartography
together for the 1980 Kenneth Nebenzahl Woodwards Introduction to Art and Cartography
Lectures in the History of Cartography, publishing explicitly challenged the then conventional view
their essays in 1987 under the title Art and among cartographical historians that with modern
Cartography.3 In 1988, a session devoted to surveying methods and the plain style of eight-
Cartography between Art and Science was held eenth-century map design cartography had pro-
at the 13th International Conference for the gressed from art to science.7 The other essays in the
History of Cartography. There, Brian Harley chal- volume clearly demonstrated the nullity of the
lenged the sacred dichotomy between art and distinction between art and science in pre-modern
science in the history of cartography and turned to mapping. However, since none of the authors dealt
Derridean theory of texts and Foucauldian con- with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from
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cepts of discourse to treat all maps as cultural which the art/science distinction itself dates,
objects and mapping as a social and cultural contributors were not obliged to confront the
activity, placing cartography outside the disabling historical implications of this distinction, and thus
classifications of art and science. In the same the essays in Art and Cartography unintentionally
session, Catherine Delano-Smith pointed to the underwrote the view that pre-modern art and
irrelevance to cartographical historys hermeneutic cartography enjoyed a uniquely close connection.
goal of distinguishing between art and science, Woodwards understanding of art and science
especially when considering pre-Enlightenment relations drew on the philosopher Thomas
maps.4 The art/science debate was thus intimately Munroe who, while rejecting canonical distinc-
bound to the more general critical turn within the tions between fine and useful arts, still cleaved to
history of cartography. aesthetics as a defining characteristic of art. Thus
Since then, not only have the critical interpre- Woodward maintained an essentialist and method-
tative and iconographic methods of art history ological art/science distinction, differentiating an
been widely applied to maps, but interest among artistic method that is basically synthetic, auto-
contemporary artists in mapping themes has graphic, and creative from a scientific method that
significantly increased. Woodward himself identi- is analytical, independent of the scientist and
fied contemporary artistic interest in maps as a reportive, and he appealed to neurological science
principal reason for scholars to explore the to support the claim.8
complex intermingling of art and science found Woodwards methodological embrace of aes-
in the map, although his collection of essays thetics as the distinguishing feature of art can be
avoided any consideration of modern or contem- challenged from the perspective of practice in both
porary work.5 Most critical scholarship tends to science and art, especially in relation to twentieth-
focus on what were once regarded as decorative century work in both fields. There is now a
elements on maps, and the artists whose carto- significant literature on the constitutive role of
graphical interests are routinely studied remain visual images, including maps, in the practices of
overwhelmingly drawn from the pre-modern science. Its import is to undermine claims that
period.6 Woodwards provocative reflection on sciences analytical, independent and reportive
current artistic interests in cartography therefore method makes no call on the persuasive role of
remains under explored. My intention here is to aesthetics. Indeed, work published in the field of
revisit his formulation in the light of more recent Science and Technology Studies since Woodward
thinking on the relationship between art and wrote has considerably reconfigured our under-
science in general and within the context of standing of how science works.9 Sciences nexus of
twentieth-century artistic engagement with map- instrumentation, mechanization and objective-
ping practices and with maps as art objects. I open representation strategies (such as quantification
with a brief discussion of alternatives to or photography) does not escape aesthetic appeal.
Woodwards own distinction between art and Rather, science deploys the aesthetics of plain style
science and their relevance to twentieth-century within a broader persuasive strategy. Mathematics,
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 37

language and illustration, including various forms individual subjectivity and artistic imagination in
of maps, play a major role in securing claims to the the creation of maps as scientific instruments.14
universality, authority and immutability of scien- Latours reference to the freeing of art history
tific knowledge. Thus Alexander von Humboldts from aesthetics signals a second challenge to
early nineteenth century introduction of the iso- Woodwards framework from the perspective of
line, and the subsequent development of thematic art practice. The art historians who contributed to
cartography to illustrate his cosmographic argu- Woodwards Art and Cartography largely avoided
ments, drew upon the authority previously gained considerations of aesthetics. In this they reflected a
by instrumented topographical survey and the significant shift then in progress within art history
aesthetics of plain-style mapping. away from formal analysis and aesthetic apprecia-
These developments helped secure claims about tion and towards interpretation and criticism. In
spatial relations and processes that are invisible to fact, among artists themselves, aesthetics had been
the individual observer and that are often based on under siege for much of the twentieth century.
evidence geographically removed from the site of Artists embrace of the revolutionary political term
map use. Numbers, lines, colours and key coding avant garde betrays a concern that self-consciously
reinforce the thematic maps scientific status as an modern art should break with such bourgeois and
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immutable mobile, to borrow the philosopher of commercial concerns as beauty and aesthetics.15
science Bruno Latours term for an instrument that Their manoeuvre prejudices any attempt to study
preserves the meaning and truth claims of scientific the quite considerable engagement of twentieth-
observations as they circulate across space and century artists with maps within the rubric applied
time.10 Maps, in common with other forms of by Woodward to pre-modern art and cartography.
illustration, have the goal of making present a Indeed, just as Science Studies have directed
distanced absence, although some artistic images attention away from the truth claims of science
arguably make the further claim of creating a towards its specific and located practices, including
virtual space, since their aura refigures the space its use of cartography, so the artists move directs
in which they are located.11 Latour further points us away from the map as art and towards the place
out that in the process of circulation by which of cartography within artistic practice, which in the
scientific knowledge is universalized, information case of avant-garde art is considerable. That said, it
is never simply transferred, it is always radically is important to acknowledge that avant-garde ideas
transformed from one medium to the next it and practices by no means encompassed the whole
pays for its transport through a heavy price in of what goes under the rubric of Modern art in the
transformations.12 To achieve immutability (for twentieth century, and that Modernism has found
example, by means of a scientific map), the many other artistic expressions, some of which also
information contained undergoes transformation, involved maps and map making. Pictorial mapping
a process which, in principle, is not different from exploded in the middle years of the twentieth
that of artistic production of spatial images. century in such popular media as newspapers,
The shared epistemology of art and science magazines and film, where it was strongly influ-
which Woodwards art-historical contributors were enced by some of the same cultural currents that
discovering in pre-modern images is thus true for gave rise to Pop Art.
work from any historical period. It has remained
obscured, however, by claims for representational Avant-garde Art and Cartography
objectivity developed within modern science. As By the end of the nineteenth century the practices
Latour points out, of modern cartography were well in place. States
had surveying and cartographical institutions
it was much more difficult to extirpate scientific
activity from its epistemological past than to free art producing topographical maps of their territory
history from aesthetics Once the two moves were and of their colonial possessions; statistical map-
completed, a vast common ground was opened and, in ping was a significant tool of bureaucracy and
recent years, a flurry of studies has vascularized the social regulation; and map use and interpretation
connection between visualization in science and the
visual arts.13 were widely taught in schools. Cartography was a
profession that embraced such scientific practices
These moves set the context in which critical as classification, quantification and instrumentation
deconstructions of scientific mapping projects have to secure the truth of its visual records and
revealed the significance of culture, location, representations. Later photography and aerial
38 D. Cosgrove

survey reinforced the trust in mimesis. Early over avant-garde art practices. His readymades of
twentieth-century Modern artists were similarly the 1940scommon objects of everyday use only
concerned with the relationships between vision slightly modified, if at all, by the artist but turned
and space, but their recognition of the complex- into art by selection and relocation aloneradi-
ities and subjectivities involved directed the cally transformed the territory conventionally
attention of groups such as the Post- ascribed to art. James Housefield has recently
Impressionists, Fauvists and Cubists away from argued that the readymades were strongly influ-
cartographical concepts and practices as objects of enced by a cartographical impulse to represent
potential artistic interest. Crudely speaking, while actual spaces. Today, Duchamps readymades are
cartographers were striving for methodological scattered through a range of galleries and thus are
rigour in such matters as projection, scale, treated as discrete objects, but they were originally
topographical representation and nomenclature, gathered together in his New York studio and made
regarding the achievement of such rigour as a visible to his friends and visitors as a collection of
foundation for the neutrality and universality of related objects. Housefield shows that each object
their images, art was dominated by a series of can be connected, conceptually and to some extent
avant-garde movements whose intention was to formally, to a specific site in Paris. Thus the Bottle
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criticize and subvert long-standing ideas and Rack (1961) makes reference to the Eiffel Tower
practices of representational art. That critical and the Bicycle Wheel to the nearby Ferris wheel.
intent soon redrew the boundaries of art itself Through these objects a map of Paris constructed
as a socially and politically engaged activity. by means of its monuments is transferred to New
Closer examination of art interests and practices York. Housefield notes the popularity in
suggests some nuances to this familiar story. Given Duchamps youth of pictorial maps as guides to
the concern with spacenotably the spaces of the monumental Paris. These mass-produced colour
picture surface and of the artworks location lithographs represent one example of the explosion
artistic experimentation occasionally generated of popular mapping in the twentieth century
images that have a strongly cartographical feel. discussed below. Housefield suggests that
Futurism in the late 1910s and in the 1920s, for
Duchamps readymades engage analogy, humor, and
example, was inspired precisely by the ways in
shifts in scale to translate elements of the human made
which modern technologies had transformed the urban landscape into the interior landscape of the
experience of space and time. Futurists responded studio. Such shifts and translations parallel the
enthusiastically to the same opportunities for physical and conceptual transformations of landscapes
into cartographic representations, or maps.18
seeing the land from an aircraft which challenged
and expanded cartography itself. Italian aeropaint- Housefield closes by remarking, that although
ings, for instance, conveyed the experience of modern art does not always represent the land-
speed and fractured vision which the view from an scape in immediately recognizable ways, the
aircraft allowed; many sought to capture new relationships with geography merit more consider-
visions of geographical space: of the island, of the ation than they have received. His claim must
city, of the farms and fields of rural landscape.16 obviously extend to cartography, given the close
Italian embrace of Modernism extended into alignment of geography with map making for most
cartography as geopolitical mapmakers employed of the twentieth century.
its design strategies and typography to dramatize Examining relations between modern art and
their cartographical arguments.17 Criticism of such cartography is significant in view of Modernisms
propaganda mapping in the 1940s by cartographers consistent desire to confront figurative and repre-
concerned to preserve the scientific neutrality and sentational conventions. Modern painters dis-
authority of maps anticipates responses in the played intense interest in the grid as a pictorial
1980s and 1990s to deconstruction. Brief consider- device. Indeed, as Rosalind Krauss points out, the
ation of two key twentieth-century avant-garde grid became arguably the emblem of all that is
artists permits closer examination of the complex quintessentially Modern in art. But their response
connection with mapping and maps. was to the grids capacity to express the absolute
autonomy of artanti-natural, anti-mimetic, anti-
Duchamp and Johns realrather than to its ability to frame and
Marchel Duchamp (18871968) is considered one compose the spatial arrangement and scalar repre-
of Modernisms guiding spirits and a key influence sentation of material places and landscapes. Unlike
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 39

perspective, the grid does not map out the space of Although in the 1960s, many members of the
a room or a landscape or a group of figures onto the Situationist International rejected art altogether in
surface of a painting. Indeed, if it maps anything, it favour of radical Left activism on city streets, Guy
maps the surface of the painting itself.19 Thus Debord, whose film making had stimulated an
Jasper Johnss encaustic and collage Map (1963), interest in spectacle and space, sought to connect
frequently reproduced in summaries of cartogra- art practice directly to the geography of the city.
phy in twentieth-century art, may be read as an His concept of psychogeography was part of a set of
extension of his Modernist fascination with the radical responses to rationalist and functionalist
painterly surface as much as a direct engagement urban planning (heavily reliant on statistical and
with cartography. Johnss image looks like a crude thematic mapping practices), which he believed to
map of the conterminous states of the United be destroying the social and psychological well-
States, each labelled and rendered in a different being of urban communities. Psychogeography
colour. The wax-like encaustic is thickly layered, was the study of the specific effects of the
and the brush strokes are obvious. They draw geographical environment, consciously organized
attention to the unstable surface of the image as or not, on the emotions and behavior of indivi-
much as to the provisionality of meaning in the duals.22 The connected practice of the urban
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mapped space. Johns consciously juggles with derive, or drift, intended to generate chance
cartographical conventions: varying the lettering encounters and provocative interactions with
and nomenclature of states, cutting place-names other individuals, involved a kind of subversive
off at the margins, and using a muted grey palette survey of urban space that both stimulated and
set off by occasional points of primary colour. The recorded transient passage through varied
key in the corner of the image, in blocks of ambiances.23 Thought of cartographically, the
primary colours, refers only to itself, rather than derive was a conscious challenge to the apparently
the contents of the map. Collage pieces, barely omniscient, disembodied and totalizing urban
visible until the eye is too close to discern the map that had become the principal instrument
cartographical surface, preserved by the encaustic for urban planning and comprehensive redevelop-
material used to depict the states, denote specific ment during the post-war years. The derive was
places and times. Johns is questioning the pretence intimately connected to Debords third concept of
of the map to be more than its surface.20 unitary urbanism: the combined use of the
arts and techniques for the constructionor
Surrealism and Situationism preservationof environments in which the
Surrealism was the avant-garde Modern-art move- derive and psychogeographical experiments would
ment that explicitly engaged cartography as prac- prosper.24
tice rather than simply the map as image. Its To illustrate these experiments, between 1955
interests in image perception found echoes in the and 1959, Debord and his Danish colleague, Asger
scientific concept of cognitive mapping that devel- Jorn, produced various collages bringing together
oped in the late 1950s.21 Post-war advances in map fragments, images and texts that captured
cognitive psychology challenged many of the urban space and experience in Paris and
assumptions about the transparency of representa- Copenhagen. These works have a strongly carto-
tional images by emphasizing the importance of graphic appearance due to the dribbled lines of
individual and social perceptions. Ability to recog- coloured ink which link the pictorial fragments, as
nize and understand map images was learned and canals or a river might link landmarks within a
cultural rather than a function of the maps scientific city.25 Like Duchamp, Debords psychogeographi-
objectivity and design clarity. In the same mid- cal street maps of Paris drew upon popular pictorial
century years Situationism, a second-generation maps. Debord explicitly used G. Peltiers Guide
Surrealist movement, stimulated intense interest Tirade de Paris (1951) and his Vue de Paris a vol
in the map as a communicative device and in the doiseau (1956) (Fig. 1). The totalizing and com-
subversive potentials of mapping practices. manding vision of the city that Peltiers pictorial
Situationisms conscious move beyond the art maps offered derived in part from aerial photo-
world of studios and galleries into the spaces of graphy, whose relationship with pictorial mapping
everyday life reinforced this concern with map- is considered in greater detail below. Pictorial maps
ping as a means of engaging graphically and perfectly captured the distanciated spatial vision of
actively with material spaces. mid-century urban planning in European cities
40 D. Cosgrove
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Fig. 1. Guy Debord, Situationist Map of Paris Using G. Peltiers 1956 Vue de Paris a vol doiseau, in Guide psychogeographique
de Paris: Discours sur les passions de lamour (Denmark, The Imaginist Bauhaus, 1957). Debords dust jacket for the book
illustrates the concept of the derive as a mode of experiencing the city intimately from below. The mastering perspective of
the birds eye view is broken into arbitrary fragments representing districts to be walked and in which encounters might
take place. The red arrows connecting these spaces represent taxi rides or other less intimate connections across urban
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 41

such as Paris, Amsterdam and London which so 42u North latitude line. Postal receipts were sent to
enraged the Situationists. Hermann Bollmanns and received from each of the locations at A, Truro,
Vogelschaukarten from the 1940s and 1950s are Massachusetts. Documentation of the sculpture
perhaps the most widely reproduced examples of included a map showing the line of towns and also
this genre of urban map. Bollmanns axiometric two city maps. Like Jasper Johnss earlier map, the
image of Manhattanthe paradigm Modernist conception of Hueblers project owes much to the
landscaperenders to great visual effect the mapped nature of American social space, in
synoptic, mastering gaze that Michel de Certeau, which political and survey boundaries are strongly
heir to the Situationist critique, later dissected in orientated to lines of latitude and longitude.
his The Practice of Everyday Life.26 The Situationist Other works by Huebler also leaned heavily on
response to the urban vision represented by such maps. For Location Piece #2, water canisters were
cartography was to cut the map of Paris or buried at marked points within the California
Amsterdam into islands of urban space joined desert and subsequently documented on various
only by thick red arrows or dark ribbons that evoke types of map. In other projects the artist drew, like
the emotional and passional connections made Duchamp and Debord before him, upon the
within and between such locales by the artist/ ubiquity and disposability of little maps in
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mapmaker himself. Urban mapping is thus modern culture, in his case using Shell auto maps,
transformed into a pictorial-art practice that airline route maps and urban road maps as
records another, performative art, the urban materials for his art.29 For Huebler, objective,
derive. scientific and even banal everyday aspects of the
map became positive advantages in supporting the
Conceptual Art and Beyond goal of divorcing art from visual pleasure. As
In the late 1960s and 1970s, conceptual artists, for generally in Modernism, the connection between
whom paintingirredeemably compromised in art and cartography involves a conscious rejection
their opinion by an inherited baggage of canonical of traditional aesthetics.
practicehad reached the limits of expression, also Conceptual and post-conceptual artists from the
took an interest in mapping. Adopting a less 1970s to the present have sustained this critical
activist relationship with social issues than the conversation with cartography. A recurrent theme
Situationists, conceptual artists focused on the idea in site-specific and performance art has been the
of an artwork, on theoretical methodologies of use of interactions between people and things in
documentation, on site and on performance. These material space to map out locations, routes and
concerns directed their engagement with cartogra- journeys within cities. Thus the language and
phy further towards the processes of mapping practice of maps have been deployed to structure
rather than towards the graphic forms of maps as such journeys and interactions, as in the case of
such. Their interests in documentation and site Yoko Onos Map Piece (1962) and the more
specificity, for example, not only signalled the sustained topographical work of Land Artists
value of the map as a mode of spatial representa- discussed by Stephen Bann.30 More recently, the
tion but also recognized that the very concept of artist Roger Dions documentations of objects
mapping and its powerful visual codes made it a archaeologically recovered from tropical rain
highly effective subject for creative manipula- forests, industrial-wasteland sites and the Thames
tion.27 From its earliest stages maps played a role mud flats at Putney, London, work with the
in conceptual art. In 1959, Yves Klein, a precursor classificatory aspects of mapping as a mode of
of conceptual art, famously covered a schoolroom defining sameness and difference through spatial
globe in his trademark blue pigment YKB, antici- bounding.
pating the theme of the blue planet that would Other artists have been attracted less to the
come to dominate popular global mapping in the survey and recording aspects of mapping than to
space age.28 In the New York artist Douglas the techniques and processes of map making and to
Hueblers Site Sculpture Projects (1968), maps play ways of manipulating such apparently determina-
a dual role of instantiating the site and document- tive elements as projection and scale. Agnes
ing the projects, whose aim was to redefine the Deness Isometric Systems in Isotropic SpaceMap
concept of sculpture. In another of his works, 42nd Projections (1974) projected the world map on to
Parallel, he identified as A to N fourteen towns such mathematical figures as the cube, doughnut
across the United States, each lying exactly on the and snail shell. Lilla LoCurto and William
42 D. Cosgrove
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Fig. 2. Lilla LoCurto and William Outcault, Image of the artists scanned bodies as globe gores. 1226244 cm,
chromogenic print from (2000). This is just one of a series of images in which the New York artists
juxtapose the portrait and the nude using state-of-the-art computer technology to create images derived from three-
dimensional digital scans of their bodies. The skin appears stripped from the body and flattened into a two-dimensional
surface using conventional cartographic projections. As a solid object, the surface of the human body, like that of the globe,
cannot be represented in two dimensions without distortion. Apianusll BL3cy 17-98. (Reproduced with permission of the

Outcaults (2000) used a selection with mapping and colonialism such as the Stedelijk
of spherical projections to explore the formal Museum in Amsterdam and recovers something of
relationships between the globe and the human the history of cartography itself. The maps confront
body and the technical problems of representing the dialectics of global harmony and colonial
their curvilinear surfaces on the two dimensional exploitation that are stimulated by a cordiform
plane (Fig. 2). Mapping the magnetically scanned world (Fig. 3). Further exploring the connections
surface of their own bodies according to various between cartography and imperialism, the English
projections makes a powerful statement about artist Pat Naldi projected maps of unclaimed
visibility and invisibility of the body and the territories and a childhood map of the British
transformations that scientific representation empire onto the walls of the British School in
entails. LoCurto and Outcaults images evoke the Rome in 2001. Laura Kurgan meanwhile has
shared interest of Renaissance artists and map- addressed the politics of contemporary mapping
makers in the representational power of geometry technologies, using SPOT satellite images taken
and projection. during the Balkan wars of the 1990s to map
Such historical reference brings artistic work out the locations of mass graves of ethnic
close to the specific interests of historians of cleansing in Kosovo. This work, like many con-
cartography, and a number of artists have drawn temporary art projects, is circulated through the
directly on that scholarship. The New Zealand artist Internet.31
Ruth Watson has devoted numerous works since The critical and post-colonial aspects of
the mid-1990s to an exploration of the cordiform Watsons, Naldis and Kurgans map images reflect
projection, initially developed by Oronce Fine. an established radicalism in conceptual arts
Watson makes heart-shaped images of the world engagement with mapping, one that parallels the
centred on the South Pole rather than the North, critical turn within cartography itself that dates
creating them from photographs of the tongues from the 1980s, when Alighieri Boettis Mappa del
surface and metal pins (Lingua Geographica), gold Mondo (1989)to take a single, widely reproduced
chocolate wrapping paper (Take Heart), and salt. examplecombined the taken-for-grantedness of
She displays them in locations closely connected the world map and the flags of nations to generate
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 43
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Fig. 3. Ruth Watson, Take Heart (1998), gold chocolate wrapping paper and metal pins, 160 cm diameter. This is one of a
number of Watsons projects in which she draws upon and reworks the long emblematic tradition of the global cordiform
projection which associates it with memory, love and harmony on earth. Using the gold foil from chocolate wrappers, she
plays upon the associations between chocolate and love, to be sure, but in a more critical mode, memory of the product as
a colonial plantation crop. By projecting from the South Pole she also disrupts the eurocentrism of conventional world
mapping. Image courtesy the artist and Christchurch Art GalleryTe Puna O Waiwhetu. (Reproduced with permission
of the artist.)

a striking image of geopolitical division. In recent suggest the coexistence of cognitive dissonance in
years, the ideological stridency of some critical unfamiliar territory and affective relations with
artwork has been paralleled by a more nuanced the earths surface.32 Prendergasts City Drawings
artistic use of the map. This reflects a recognition (2001) trace the intricate and beautiful street
that deconstruction has successfully challenged the patterns in the worlds capital cities while challen-
maps naturalizing powers and our ability to ging their usual hierarchy of size and political or
acknowledge the visual appeal of mapped images, economic significance by removing names and
without necessarily evading their problematic indicators of scale. In a similar vein, the Japanese
connections with power and exploitation. Thus artist Satori Matoba skilfully dissolves maps of
the Irish artist Kathy Prendergast has developed a different but politically connected locations into
series of works in her Atlas of Emotions (1999) each other. Her image of Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima
which abstract from topographical maps of Canada (1998), for example, disrupts the taken for granted
and the United States place-names that record meanings of both places by merging the two
European colonization, such as the psychologically topographical maps into a single, visually smooth
charged toponym Lost(Fig. 4). Re-mapping these cartographical surface (Plate 3).
words challenges assumptions that colonial The engagement of contemporary art with
exploration and cartography were straightforward cartographical images and practice, sanctified by a
acts, never complicated by ignorance, incompe- series of major exhibitions in the 1990s, has thus
tence or fear on the part of the conquerors. They developed into a field of intensive and continuing
44 D. Cosgrove
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Fig. 4. Kathy Prendergast, Lost, detail of the western United States from her Atlas of the Emotions (1999). Digital print.
Original image 846132 cm. Prendergasts map of the United States highlights place-names containing the word Lost. The
image uses both the familiarity and the authority of the topographical map to challenge our understanding of place-names
as cartographical markers of meaning. Not only does it upset official hierarchies of place in maps, but also colonialists
assumptions about control over the spaces of exploration. (Reproduced with permission of the artist.)
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 45

work, in which the map is the focus for widely culture. Faced with the volume of popular maps
diversified critical and graphic attention. The produced for casual consumption, professional
complex history of twentieth-century relationships cartographers were frequently reduced to impotent
between cartography and the artistic avant-garde rage at the vulgarity and inaccuracy of what passed
awaits a detailed, authoritative study. Such a study for a map, and they sought to establish clear
will need to engageand indeed mapthe highly distinctions between objective scientific maps and
complex and varied expression of Modernity in art popular subjective and, at worst, propaganda
and may reveal unexpected impacts of art theory maps.33 Those who produced maps in news
and practice within cartography itself. journals and magazines rarely possessed the
technical training of professional cartographers,
Popular Culture, Art and Cartography nor would many have made a serious claim to any
I have concentrated so far on avant-garde artistry for their work. Mark Monmonier describes
Modernism that was highly intellectualized and twentieth-century journalistic mapping as a
concentrated in a limited number of artistic centres distinctive cartographic genre generally simple
such as Paris and New York. But the avant-garde in content and symbolization Unfortunately, he
was not hermetically sealed from popular culture, states, news publishers tend to hire artists
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and Modern art had a highly varied expression, untrained in cartographic principles, and news
extending well beyond the circle of self- maps sometimes reflect an ignorance of map
consciously radical artists and comprising a more projections or cartographic conventions.34
complex geography than just these two cities. For Monmoniers evidence entirely supports such a
the more popular artistic expressions of conclusion, but his judgment betrays a lingering
Modernism, I draw on work in Los Angeles, a city attachment to scientific cartography as the criter-
whose significance in twentieth-century popular ion by which all map images are to be evaluated.
culture parallels that of Paris and New York. By the Despite its obvious attractions, this assumption can
1930s predominance of the film industry in be restrictive. Placing popular map images within
Hollywood attracted a huge range of artistic talent the context of modern cultures consistent erasure
to Southern California, generating innovation in of canonical distinctions and hierarchies yields a
many fields of graphic art, including line drawing, richer understanding of their role and relations
cartoons, comics, posters and other forms of with both art and cartography, as Susan Schulten
commercial illustration. By the 1960s this work has shown in her study of Richard Edes Harrisons
was beginning to have an impact on such avant- wartime map making. Harrisons 1944 atlas, Look at
garde movements as Pop Art, irrespective of the the World, contains some of the most graphically
earlier interest shown by Salvador Dali, a canonical adventurous maps of the twentieth century. These
figure in Surrealism who had worked closely with were intended for a mass audience, but for
Disney Studios in animated film. professional cartographers they sailed dangerously
Before turning to the direct impact of Hollywood close to the shoals of persuasive geopolitical
on popular cartography, it is important to recall the mapping.35 Despite Harrisons lack of formal
significance of the map more generally in mass cartographical training, he nevertheless recognized
culture in the twentieth century. Maps were the advantages of orthographic and azimuthal
among the many graphic objects that had projections for conveying the scale and spatial
entered popular culture and were transformed relations of a world shrunken by powered flight.
by it. Map images became ubiquitous in mass His foreshortened picture-maps illustrated geo-
media; they were found in newspapers, on screen strategic relations as if viewed from the cockpit of
and in advertising, travel and tourism. By mid- an infinitely high-flying aircraft. Although
century, both cartographical literacy and graphic- Harrison constantly emphasized that his maps
communications had become so pervasive that showed the true nature of spatial relations in a
scientific cartographers, despite their professional world of air power, he was equally explicit
status, their claims to representational accuracy about their persuasive function; they were
and clarity, and the technical sophistication of their intended to explain the first truly global conflict
work, found it impossible to control the output of to citizens in a modern democracy through
cartographical images. The cartographers very graphically dramatic images published in mass-
success in achieving scientific status for their work circulation photo-journals such as Life and
had given the map enormous authority in modern Fortune.36
46 D. Cosgrove

Harrison was by no means the only innovator to between February 1942 and August 1945.39
respond to the challenge of cartographical educa- Various features of these maps stand out in the
tion in mass culture during wartime. His friend and cultural context of mid-century modernity.
colleague Walter Ristow celebrated the extraordin- Regardless of the scale of the area mapped, be it
ary efflorescence of novel cartographical images in the African continent, the Pacific Ocean or a tiny
America between 1941 and 1945, even while Pacific atoll such as Wake Island or Truk, a sharply
criticizing their scientific inadequacy and arguing curving horizon places the observer high in the
that lack of colour printing, deadline pressures and heavens, as a witness to the earths curvature,
the demands of editors confined the best of these while swooping low over the details of topography
innovations to periodicals and news magazines and landscape. Synoptic views combined with
rather than newspapers.37 However, at least two detailed topography were, of course, the features
California daily newspapers did publish highly of pictorial mapping that attracted the critical
original, full-colour maps explaining the war to attention of avant-garde artists. Owens did not
their readers in considerable and vivid detail. share those artists critical response. Instead, his
Although neither scientific in their cartography maps reflect the excitement and imaginative
nor consciously avant-garde in their art, the stimulus of what mid-century American political
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creators of these maps called upon both the commentators called the airmans vision, a
scientific authority that the map possessed in synoptic, global perspective that Owens brilliantly
modern society and the graphic techniques devel- illustrates.40
oped in films and comic books to produce dramatic Owens worked with the help of a two-dollar,
spatial images for a mass readership. twelve-inch globe, which he photographed from
the most pictorially effective angle. For smaller
Pictorial War Maps scale features, he relied on press maps supplied by
From the 1930s into the 1950s, both the Los Angeles telegraph wire services, which he copied or traced
Times and the San Francisco Examiner, devoted to provide a base map to which he pasted other
whole pages to what are best called pictorial maps. elements of the final image: topographical
The maps were the work of the newspapers staff sketches, blocks of explanatory text, directional
artists, Charles Hamilton Owens and Howard arrows, other symbols of movement and his
Burke respectively.38 The pictorial style of two cartoon action scenes. Another characteristic fea-
artists is similar, although their personal relation- ture of Owenss maps is the sketched battle scene
ship is unknown. Each had adopted an axiometric or landscape, rendered in pencil and charcoal and
form of mapping, often incorporating detailed placed above the horizon line to frame the mapped
cartographical studies, drawings and realistic land- space (Fig. 5). These scenes give his cartography
scape features such as buildings and vegetation the intensity and immediacy of reportage, in the
into the main image. Blocks of text and labelling style of the war comics that remained popular into
provide explanatory narrative (Plates 4 and 5). In the 1950s. The most obvious source of Owenss
Owenss case, a characteristic feature was to vistas is the storyboard, with which visits to film
surround the map with comic-book style pencil studios had familiarized him. Map and narrative
sketches dramatizing its subject or promoting sketches often interpenetrate as the latter invades
geographical recognition through iconic locational the former, producing dynamic effects reminiscent
images of, for example, the Sphinx, St Peters of films or newsreels as in Figure 5 and Plate 5.
Basilica in Rome or the stupas of Burma. Owenss use of the directional arrow, barbed front
Owens was more prolific than Burke. From the and solid line barrier came from military
time he joined the Los Angeles Times, he sketched mapping and geopolitics and were graphic techni-
maps alongside his drawings of court-room scenes, ques used to enhance the sense of dynamism
crime locations, sporting events and the myriad within his maps. Long, curving coloured arrows
other items a news artists was then called to stretch across Pacific distances, illustrating the
illustrate. Among Owenss earliest maps are those direction and speed of the Japanese campaign
describing the fate of the German colonies in the (Fig. 6). Here too the influence of Hollywood is
Versailles negotiations of 1919 and the 1922 apparent: an opening sequence of dotted lines or
division of Ireland. But his cartographical contri- arrows snaking across a map to set the storys
bution peaked in a series of nearly two hundred context was a common device in the Hollywood
full-page, colour war maps published on Mondays films of the 1940s.41
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 47
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Fig. 5. Detail from Charles Owens: Will Hitler drive into Spain in new thrust aimed at Gibraltar?, from the Los Angeles
Times, 28 December, 1942. The map is reproduced in full in Plate 5. Owenss dramatic charcoal sketch of a German air
attack over the Rock of Gibraltar recalls Hollywood storyboard and later comic strip illustrations.

Owenss various techniques for constructing dramatic graphic communication. Conservative in

informative but dramatically suggestive maps have pictorial style and lacking contact with self-
distinct Modernist echoes. Collage, which pastes conscious art movements, Owenss highly innova-
together fragments in different medianaturalistic tive mapping reveals the influence of a less
images, texts and cartographical symbols, for theorized but more popular and permeable
exampleto produce a visually coherent single Modernism that suffused twentieth-century
image, was pioneered by Picasso, Braque and other Southern Californian culture. Many aspects of that
Cubist painters in the years immediately preceding culture involved radical transformation of spatial
the First World War as a form of visual rapportage. experience and representation, and thus of the
For Owens, the technique captured well the possibilities for mapping.
strategic imperatives of the first air war, especially
the combination of air sorties, naval engagements Pictorial Maps and Popular Culture
and military island-hopping that characterized the Charles Owenss cartography drew upon and
Pacific campaign. The provisional nature of the contributed to a modernist visual and spatial
image also enhanced its dramatic qualities.42 More culture in the making in 1920s and 1930s
conventional techniques, such as colour selection Southern California. It was a culture closely
and tone, play a central role in Owenss maps, associated with the modern technologies of cars
enhancing their urgency by speaking directly, and aeroplanes, films and comic strips. Owenss
often harshly, in primary blocks, or emphasizing importance within it lies in his thirty-year employ-
the gloomy drama of war landscapes in their ment as the Los Angeles Times news artist. The Times
margins. But these various techniques do not trace publisherOwenss employer and friendwas
formal influences from Modern art on Owenss Harry Chandler, around whom orbited both local
work, rather they reflect his immersion in a oligarchs, who shared Chandlers hotel and real-
Southern California visual culture that was estate interests, and a bohemian intelligentsia
Modernist without being avant-garde, a culture associated with the citys entertainment and aca-
that emphasized speed, the moving image and demic institutions. All shared the vision that
48 D. Cosgrove
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Fig. 6. Charles Owens, Tokyo, heart of Japan and No. 1 Pacific target, Los Angeles Times, 11 December 1944. Owens retains
the curving global horizon even for such a detailed map as this one of central Tokyo, illustrating the American bombing of
the Japanese capital. Districts and streets are illustrated, and the map suggests that the Flying Fortresses are targeting
government operated war industries rather than fire bombing civilian districts as was often the case. The intrusion of the
battle scene into the map is typical of Owenss most dramatic war images.

Chandler trumpeted in his newspaper, of Los Early in Owenss career at the Los Angeles Times,
Angeles as a city of the future, an industrial, he produced a set of landscape paintings to serve as
commercial and cultural core for Southern full-colour cover illustrations for Touring Topics, the
California. Owenss artistry contributed directly to Automobile Club of Southern Californias monthly
the vision by illustrating many of the engineering, magazine.45 The Auto Club, founded in 1921,
architectural and cultural projects that were to served as a booster for the region and as a promoter
transform Southern Californias twentieth-century of the principal agent of its landscape transforma-
landscape. His pencil work helped build the tion, the car. By the mid-1920s more than half of
Harbor, the Owens River Aqueduct and other Los Angeless families owned cars, but until well
projects by enabling persons to see compelling into the 1930s automobiles were regarded primar-
visualizations of the undertakings through his ily as free-time accessories, allowing people to visit
perspective drawings.43 Many of his drawings and enjoy the regions varied landscapes and
incorporated birds-eye landscapes and maps based leisure resources. Owenss Auto Club illustrations
on the artists astonishing capacity to re-create pictured an iconic Southern California of Spanish
topographies either from studies made during his missions, Washingtonia palms, Joshua trees,
frequent flights over the region or from memory.44 Monterey pines on the California coast, always
During three decades, Charles Owens mapped with a car placed prominently within the scene.
Southern Californias spaces of modernity using The automobile turned Californias coasts, moun-
the orthographic perspective that so fascinated tains and deserts into scenery, landscapes for visual
artists such as Duchamp and Debord. But his vision consumption, and Owenss illustrations in the Los
grew out of such popular-cultural features as the Angeles Times mapped new routes as they were
automobile, aerial photography and film rather opened (Fig. 7). The scenic mode of vision encour-
than any formal theory of the art of cartography. aged by the newspapers Motoring and Outdoor
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 49
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Fig. 7. Charles Owens, Have you seen the Pinnacles National Monument? Los Angeles Times, Auto Section. c.1929. This
composite image illustrating a novel Southland motor trip was one of scores that Owens produced for the newspapers
leisure and auto sections between 1920 and 1940. The Pinnacles National Monument, in the Sierras east of San Francisco
was newly accessible to Los Angeles car drivers by a scenic route of some 312 miles. Owens used sketches and photographic
and text inserts overlain on his birds-eye map to illustrate the road journey.
50 D. Cosgrove

sections, and by magazines such as Touring Topics, generator of Southern Californias revolutionary
might be called a new scopic regime, connecting form of sprawling, poly-centred urbanization and
landscape scenery, consumption and speed.46 In the necessary instrument for negotiating modern
the words of one cultural critic, the term [scenery] landscape on the ground, the oblique air photo was
is appropriate here, not only because it appears so particularly suited to capturing its spatial logic. At
frequently in the tourist literature of the day but least one of Owenss pictorial maps of Boulder
also because of its associations with two other loci (Hoover) Dam during its construction was a direct
of urban visual consumption, theater and film. rendering of a high-angle Spence photograph.49 By
Scenic implies seriality and movement from one the outbreak of war in 1941, Owens had perfected
visual setting to another, unlike the static con- a cartography for mapping the scale and speed of
notations of the picturesque.47 aerial warfare in the Pacific.
This new spatiality stimulated new cartography: Owenss connections with Los Angeless iconic
not simply the free route maps offered by the modern film industry were less intense than his
gasoline companies but the novel ways of illustra- associations with the automobile and aeroplane,
ting space, of which Owens and Burke were but they were nonetheless close. Not only did he
pioneers. In a 1934 Los Angeles Times piece, and in enjoy friendships with Hollywood artists and
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the course of reporting his drive along the newly photographers, but he also undertook at least one
opened Malibu section of the Pacific Coast Highway, project to illustrate the film-making process. This
Owens described the unique way of seeing and involved time in a studio, carefully observing the
experiencing space that the automobile permitted: complex technical elements that went into
a kaleidoscopic view of a city that I somehow motion-picture production. His studio sketches
remembered as having limits that were coextensive were exhibited at Stanford University in May
with the horizon.48 The rapidly sketched mobile 1929 and discussed in the Ladies Home Journal.50
lines that he developed to capture this modern They reflect a fascination with the moving image
spatial apprehension are one response, the collage of that is also apparent in Owenss infatuation with
photographs, topographical sketches, landscape boxing. Owens took ringside seats at boxing
scenes and route map that Owens and Burke used matches in order to develop his ability to capture
in the Sunday sections of the Los Angeles Times and the body in motion and the drama of the fight. It is
San Francisco Examiner are another. These techniques not difficult, therefore, to understand his fascina-
later served to dramatize Owenss war maps. tion with cinema as a uniquely successful way of
The association of speed, space and new ways of producing dramatic, mobile images. Like driving
seeing created by the automobile was even more and flying, the cinema offers a kinetic spatial
pronounced in the experience of powered flight, as experience characteristic of modernity, transform-
1920s Italian Futurist aeropainting dramatically ing the possibilities for representing space carto-
illustrated. Since Southern California was devel- graphically. The rapidly pencilled battle scenes on
oping as an important centre of aircraft manufac- Owenss war maps echo the sparse, dramatic lines
ture and air culture in the early twentieth century, of the film storyboard and the ringside sketch.
the aerial view of landscape was particularly Southern Californias cultural modernity is
appropriate for negotiating its wide, often un- captured in Owenss action dynamics with their
inhabited, desert and mountainous terrain. From emphasis on technologies of speed and mobility, in
early in his career with the Los Angeles Times, the montage format of their graphic architecture,
Charles Owens used aircraft to gain access to places in the collage techniques used in their construc-
in the desert Southwest, thereby obtaining a new tion, in the high perspective views, zoom techni-
perspective on the rapidly transforming landscape ques and angle shots that seem to borrow from
of the area. When he was unable to sketch or aerial photography and film making as new ways
photograph personally from an aircraft, he would of seeing and experiencing space and mobility.
often base his orthographic landscape drawings Owenss work is a modernist cartography for air-
and maps on commercial aerial photographs. A age America, not only in its mode of positioning
ready supply of these was available from entrepre- the viewer and its ability to capture speed, but also
neurial pilots such as Sherman Fairchild and in its geographical sweep over hemispheres and
Robert Spence, who in the inter-war years estab- oceans. Unselfconscious and self-taught, Owenss
lished companies specializing in commercial air popular cartography nonetheless illustrates how
photography. If the automobile were both the graphic techniques similar to those pioneered by
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 51

Modern artists only marginally interested in the was the high-angle oblique pictorial map, which
map were in fact perfectly suited to mapping the was widely used in tourist guides to the city. Such
spatiality of a wholly twentieth-century landscape maps incorporated various aspects of modernity:
in Southern California and a contemporary space the new spatial perspectives introduced by power-
of war in the Pacific. ed flight, the scale and logic of contemporary
spaces that are comprehensible only from above,
Cartographic Art in the 20th Century the synoptic vision of modern state power, and
While the idea that cartography has progressed twentieth-century mass culture of which tourism
historically from art to science was effectively is an expression. While not necessarily constrained
expunged in the late 1980s, epistemological dis- by rubrics of scientific cartography, these maps
tinctions between art and science in mapping have drew on the authority that professional cartogra-
remained relatively unexamined, and twentieth- phy has gained in modern society, thereby attract-
century relations between the two practices are ing the criticism of avant-garde artists.
unexplored. In the past decade, thinking in Science In contrast to avant-garde criticism, less theore-
and Technology Studies has tended to dissolve tically informed popular artists such as Richard
epistemological distinctions between art and Edes Harrison and Charles Owens actually
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science and to highlight the aesthetic role played favoured synoptic pictorial cartography, using
by scientific images, including maps, in securing orthographic maps and birds-eye views to educate
sciences truth claims. At the same time, Modern a mass public about the novel spatial relations of
artists have rejected aesthetics as the defining modern warfare. Seeking to map the spatialities of
feature of their work, distinguishing art rather on modernity introduced by the automobile and the
the basis of practice, which may be imaginative, aeroplane, they turned to the technologies of aerial
creative, provocative and exploratoryall features photography and cinema as well as to contempor-
art shares with science. In accepting these argu- ary artistic techniques such as collage and mon-
ments, I am suggesting that in order to explore the tage. Owens, particularly, transformed the pictorial
relations between art and cartography in the map into a dynamic image of mid-twentieth
modern period we should shift attention away century spatial relations in both the landscape of
from the map itself and towards the process of Southern California and the theatre of war in the
mapping and consider the ways in which maps are Pacific. But these more popular maps also relied
deployed in both scientific and artistic projects. for their success as artistic projects on wide-
During the twentieth century, when the divorce spread cartographical literacy and the social
of art and science seemed most complete, we authority of mapping achieved by professional
discover a continuous but complex conversation cartographers.
between art, science and cartography taking place. Scientific cartography claimed ascendancy dur-
It is best understood in terms of actual artistic ing the twentieth century, and its practitioners
practices and the changing technologies of space fretted over the potential deceptions of creative,
and movement generated by science and technol- pictorial and decorative mapping, which were
ogy, rather than through universal definitions of indeed cynically exploited in totalitarian states.
art and science. Over the course of the century, Meanwhile, a subordinate but significant strand
avant-garde artists consistently distanced their within both avant-garde and popular modern art
work from the narrow embrace of aesthetics and nurtured and renovated the long historical con-
used scientific and technological advances nections between art and cartography. It did so in
including those in cartographyfor a variety of consciously political ways that, with hindsight, we
imaginative, creative and critical ends. As mapping might argue laid the foundations for critical
technologies and spatial referencing became even engagements today that challenge the stature of
more important in contemporary life, this artistic both.
interest increased. This suggests not so much that
Acknowledgements: An early version of this paper was
we dissolve the distinction between art and presented as a keynote address at the 20th International
scientific cartography, as that we acknowledge its Conference on the History of Cartography in Portland,
rhetorical force and implications in the context of Maine, 2003. I am grateful to Veronica della Dora for
research assistance and to James Housefield for advice.
actual practice.
One of the map types that attracted particular Manuscript submitted March 2004. Revised paper received June
critical attention among twentieth-century artists 2004.
52 D. Cosgrove

NOTES AND REFERENCES Miwon Kwon, One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and
Locational Identity (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2002).
1. Ulla Ehrensvard, Color in cartography, in Art and 12. Bruno Latour, How to be iconophilic in art, science
Cartography: Six Historical Essays, ed. David Woodward and religion? in Picturing Science, Producing Art, ed. Caroline
(Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1987), 12346. A. Jones and Peter Galison (London, Routledge, 1998), 425,
2. Ronald Rees, Historical links between cartography 13. Ibid., 423.
and art, Geographical Review 70 (1980): 6078; Samuel Y. 14. Barbara Maria Stafford, Voyage into Substance: Art,
Edgerton, The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective Science, Nature and the Illustrated Travel Account, 17601840
(London, Harper and Row, 1976); Juergen Schulz, (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1984); idem, Artful Science:
Jacopo de Barbaris view of Venice: map making, city Enlightenment, Entertainment and the Eclipse of Visual
views and moralized geography before the year 1500, Art Education (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1994); Lorraine
Bulletin 60 (1978): 42574; Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Daston, Wonders and the Order of Nature 11501750 (New
Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago, York, Zone Books, 1998); D. Graham Burnett, Masters of All
University of Chicago Press, 1980). They Surveyed: Exploration, GeographyA British El Dorado
3. See note 1. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2000); Luciana
4. See the report by Dennis Reinhartz in Imago Mundi 42 Martins, O Rio de Janeiro dos Viajantes: O Olhar Bderitanico
(1990): 119; also Catherine Delano Smith, Maps as art (18001850) (Rio de Janeiro, Zahar Editor, 2001).
and science: maps in sixteenth century Bibles, Imago 15. Avant garde, a military term referring to the leading
Mundi 42 (1990): 6583. group in an attacking formation, was adopted within
5. David Woodward, Introduction, in Woodward, Art French revolutionary and Marxist parlance to define the
and Cartography (see note 1), 1. role of intellectuals and artists in framing revolutionary
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6. Throughout this essay my use of the term modern politics. In Modern art it became attached to the various
(and thus early-modern and pre-modern) refers to the groups beginning with the early 20th century Dadaists
historical period between the early 15th and late 18th and Futurists whose manifestos for artistic practices that
centuries: early Renaissance to Enlightenment in Europe. broke decisively with previous, corrupt forms sought to
In my discussion of the Modern period in art position art as an engaged, revolutionary practice.
(Modernism), I am referring to 20th-century, self- 16. Bruno Mantura, Patrizia Rosazza-Ferraris and Livia
conscious movements in the art world that start with Velani, eds, Futurism in Flight: Aeropittura Paintings and
Cubism and end in the 1960s with Conceptual and Sculptures of Mans Conquest of Space (London, Aeritalia
Postmodern art. Throughout this essay the second use is Societa Aerospaziale Italiana, 1990).
in upper case to clarify this distinction. 17. David Atkinson, Geopolitics and the geographical
7. Matthew H. Edney, Cartography without progress: imagination in fascist Italy (unpublished doctoral thesis,
reinterpreting the nature and historical development of Loughborough University of Technology, 1995).
mapmaking, Cartographica 30:23 (1993): 5468. 18. James Housefield, Marcel Duchamps art and the
8. Woodward, Art and Cartography (see note 1), 6. The geography of modern Paris, Geographical Review 82
neurological distinction, which is the reason I call (1992): 478.
19. Rosalind Krauss, Grids, you say, in Grids: Format
Woodwards argument essentialist, is based on brain
and Image in Twentieth-Century Art (New York, Pace
lateralization studies of so-called right- and left-brain
Gallery, 1980), n.p.
20. John Yau: The United States of Jasper Johns
9. Lorraine Dalston and Peter Galison, The image of
(Cambridge, MA., Zoland Books, 1996), 3440.
objectivity, Representations 40 (1992): 81128; Steven
21. Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City (Cambridge, MA.,
Shapin, Placing the view from nowhere: historical and
MIT. Press, 1960).
sociological problems in the location of science,
22. Guy Debord, quoted in Peter Wollen, Mappings:
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 23
Situationists and/or Conceptualists, in Rewriting
(1998): 512; David Livingstone, Putting Science in Its Conceptual Art, ed. Michael Newman and John Bird
Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge (Chicago, (London, Reaktion,1999), 30.
University of Chicago Press, 2003). 23. Ibid., 31.
10. Bruno Latour, Pandoras Hope: Essays on the Reality of 24. Ibid.
Science Studies (Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press, 25. Ibid.
1999). Latour regards an immutable mobile as a vehicle 26. Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life,
for transferring through space scientific information transl. S. Rendall (Berkeley, University of California
gathered at a specific site in a way that preserves, through Press, 1988).
the unchanging nature of the vehicle, the validity of that 27. Wollen, Mappings (see note 22), 36; Wystan
information. The map is a paradigm example. Curnow, Mapping and the expanded field of contemporary
11. On questions of virtual space, presence and art, in Mappings, ed. Denis Cosgrove (London, Reaktion,
distance, see Carlo Ginzburg: Wooden Eyes: Nine 1999), 25368; Miwon Kwon, One place after another:
Reflections on Distance, transl. Martin Ryle and Kate notes on site specificity, in Space, Site, Intervention: Situating
Soper (New York, Columbia University Press, 2001). Installation Art, ed. Erica Suderburg (Minneapolis and
Virtual space is a term initially used by Susanne Langer, London, University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 3863.
Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art (New York, Scribner, 28. Jeremy Millar, Ground control, Tate Magazine
1953), to describe the space created by an art work. (Summer 1999), 2933.
Walter Benjamins concept of aura as something 29. Little map is the term employed by Catherine
pertaining to an original artwork lacking in even the Delano-Smith to characterize cheap, generally printed,
most perfect reproduction deals with the same phenom- popular and commercially produced maps of the kind
enon and has had considerable influence in the theory that became an inescapable part of daily life in the 20th
and practice of site-specific and performative art in recent century (Catherine Delano-Smith, The map as a com-
years. For the use of such ideas in contemporary art, see modity, in David Woodward, Catherine Delano-Smith
Art and Cartography in the Twentieth Century 53

and Cordell D. K. Yee, Plantejaments I objectius duna incomplete but substantial collection of 120 of the
historia universal de la cartografia / Approaches and Challenges original maps is held in the Young Research Library at
in a World-Wide History of Cartography (Barcelona, Institut University of California Los Angeles, and a selection of
Cartografic de Catalunya, 2001), 91109. others, in a poor state of preservation, is kept in the Times
30. Stephen Bann, The map as an index of the real: offices in downtown Los Angeles.
land art and the authentication of travel, Imago Mundi 46 40. Denis Cosgrove, Apollos Eye (Baltimore, The Johns
(1994): 918. Hopkins University Press, 2001), 24348.
31. , 41. A familiar example is the opening frames of the
32. Catherine Nash, Mapping emotion, Environment 1941 film Casablanca.
and Planning D: Society and Space 16 (1998): 19. 42. Evidence of the complex interaction between war,
33. John Pickles, Texts, hermeneutics and propaganda cartography and art is found also in the biography of
maps, in Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text and Metaphor in the conceptual artist Douglas Huebler discussed earlier.
Representation of Landscape, ed. T. J. Barnes and J. S. Huebler worked as an intelligence officer in the Pacific
Duncan (London, Routledge, 1992), 193230. theatre, flying sorties and using maps to plot the success
34. Mark Monmonier, Maps with the News (Chicago, of bombing missions.
Chicago University Press, 1989), 14. 43. Los Angeles Times, 4 March 1958.
35. Susan Schulten, The Geographical Imagination in 44. Owenss capacity to recreate landscapes from
America, 18801950 (Chicago, University of Chicago memory gave him an early reputation as a young reporter
Press. 2001), 21428. Richard Edes Harrison, Look at the when he illustrated the San Francisco earthquake for a
World: The Fortune World Atlas for World Strategy (New New York newspaper with a pictorial map of the city
York, Fortune, 1944); Susan Schulten, Richard Edes based on wire reports and his personal knowledge alone.
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Harrison and the challenge to American cartography, 45. John Ott, Landscapes of consumption: auto tourism
Imago Mundi 50 (1998): 17488. and visual culture in California, 19201940, in Reading
36. Harrison, in his introduction to Look at the World (see California. Art, Image, Identity, ed. Stephanie Barron et al.
note 35), is specific about the significance of his project as (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000), 5167,
a contribution to democratic citizenship. ref. on 52. For ten months in 1923 and again in 1927,
37. Walter Ristow, Journalistic cartography, Surveying Owenss California landscapes and desert scenes were
and Planning 10 (1957): 36990. Ristow was a close friend reproduced in full colour on the front cover of Touring
of Richard Edes Harrison and his arguments about Topics, the monthly magazine of the Automobile Club of
newspaper cartography have the effect of enhancing the Southern California.
significance of Harrisons work. Ristows paper has been a 46. Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in
principal source for the more recent reviews of 20th- Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley, University of
century popular cartography by Monmonier and California Press, 1993), is the originator of this phrase
Schulten. which suggests the close connection between ways of
38. Charles Owens, who is the principal subject of this seeing and representing space and broader cultural shifts.
study, worked between 1910 and 1912 for the New York 47. Ott, Landscapes of consumption (see note 45),
Herald and other New York newspapers and after that at notes 35 and 56.
the Los Angeles Examiner before joining the Los Angeles 48. Los Angeles Times, 20 May 1934.
Times in 1918, where he stayed until his retirement in 49. The photograph and map were published in the Los
1952. Howard Burke is known only for his work as staff Angeles Times on 1 January 1929. The Spence archive of
artist at the San Francisco Examiner, where he was active in aerial photographs is currently housed at the Geography
the same mid-century years as Owens. Department of UCLA. It consists of some 100,000
39. The full series of maps is not known and does not photographic negatives and printed images.
appear in the microfilm version of Los Angeles Times. An 50. Ladies Home Journal, July 1930: 5153.

Cartes, production cartographique et modernite: art et cartographie au XXe siecle

Tandis que lhistoire de la cartographie sest affranchie des debats steriles sur le statut scientifique et artistique
des cartes, letude des relations entre art et cartographie a persiste a privilegier largement les cartes pre-
modernes, evitant letude critique de lart et de la science en cartographie au XXe siecle et laissant intacte
limpression que ceux-ci suivent des chemins distincts a lepoque moderne. Dans cet article, cependant, je
mappuie sur le travail theorique mene dans le domaine de science studies et je tiens compte de la separation de
lart moderne et de lesthetique pour suggerer que letude de lart et de la cartographie au XXe siecle devrait
privilegier les pratiques de production cartographique plutot que les cartes en tant que telles. Un apercu
sommaire des mouvements dart moderne et duvres choisies indique un engagement continu, sinon
critique, des artistes davant-garde en cartographie, et letude dune production plus populaire, limage de
presse, produite a Los Angeles au milieu du XXe siecle dans le contexte dune culture de limage
profondement moderne, indique une connection tout aussi etroite entre modernite, art et cartographie.

Kunst, Kartographie und die Moderne im 20. Jahrhundert

Die Geschichte der Kartographie hat sich zwar von den kontraproduktiven Debatten uber den
wissenschaftlichen oder kunstlerischen Rang von Karten befreit, Betrachtungen uber die Beziehung
54 D. Cosgrove

zwischen Kunst und Kartographie beschranken sich aber weiterhin uberwiegend auf altere Karten. Dabei
wird eine kritische Prufung der Interdependenz von Kunst und Kartographie im 20. Jahrhundert vermieden
und weiterhin der Eindruck vermittelt, diese entwickelten sich in der modernen Zeit vollig unabhangig. Im
vorliegenden Beitrag schlagt der Autorbasierend auf theoretischen Arbeiten auf dem Gebiet der science
studies und unter Berucksichtigung der Loslosung der modernen Kunst von der Asthetikvor, dass der
Komplex Kunst und Kartographie im 20. Jahrhundert vor allem anhand der Prozesse der Kartenherstellung
untersucht werden sollte und weniger anhand der Karten selbst. Ein Uberblick uber die Stromungen der
modernen Kunst und die Analyse einzelner Kunstwerke lasst eine kontinuierliche, wenn auch kritische
Beschaftigung der Avantgarde-Kunstler mit der Kartographie erkennen. Daruber hinaus legt auch die
Untersuchung popularerer Zeitungsillustrationen, die im Kontext mit der ausgepragt modernen visuellen
Kultur von Los Angeles in der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts entstanden, eine enge Verbindung zwischen der
Moderne, der Kunst und der Kartographie nahe.

Modernidad, arte y cartografa en el siglo XX

Aunque la historia de la cartografa se ha librado de inoperantes debates sobre el estatus cientfico y artstico
de los mapas, las deliberaciones sobre la relacion entre arte y cartografa se han centrado principalmente en
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los mapas historicos, evitando un examen crtico del arte y la ciencia en la cartografa del siglo XX, y dejando
intacta la impresion de que seguan distintos caminos en la epoca moderna. En este artculo he dibujado un
trabajo teorico en science studies y tomado en cuenta la separacion entre el arte moderno y la estetica para
sugerir que la investigacion sobre el arte y la cartografa en el siglo XX debe centrarse en las practicas
cartograficas mas que en los mapas en si. Un repaso sumario a los movimientos artsticos y a algunos trabajos
seleccionados, indica un continuado, aunque crtico, compromiso de los artistas de vanguardia con la
cartografa; el examen de los mas populares periodicos de arte, producidos en el contexto de la cultura visual
moderna de la mitad del siglo XX en Los Angeles, indica una conexion muy cercana entre modernidad, arte y

Authors Postscript

Sarah Bendall (Draft Town Maps for John Speeds Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, Imago Mundi, 54
(2002): 3045) writes:

In my article on the collection of plans for the Theatre held at Merton College, Oxford, I omitted to mention
two details that I know will be of interest to fellow researchers into John Speeds maps. The first is that the
plan of Galway is signed Hu Fen, and the second is that on the verso is an unsigned plan that appears to
represent Coventry.
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Plate 3. Satori Matoba, Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima (1998). Digital print. One of a number of projects that bring together maps of
different places into a seamless unity, the Japanese artist here skilfully combines the two separate large-scale
topographical maps of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima harbour so that at first sight they are one place. The impact of uniting,
at least cartographically, the iconic locations of the struggle for the Pacific during the Second World War needs no further
comment, especially in the context of the maps by Howard Burke and Charles Owens that follow (Plates 4 and 5).
(Reproduced with permission of the artist.) See page 43.
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Plate 4. Howard Burke, How Japan could attack America, from the San
Francisco Examiner, 7 November 1937. Burkes full-page, three-colour
orthographic map appeared in the Sunday supplement of San Franciscos Plate 5. Charles Owens, Will Hitler drive into Spain in new thrust aimed at
principal daily newspaper some four years before the Pearl Harbor attack. Gibraltar? Los Angeles Times, 28 December 1942. One of more than 200 such
Text inserts explain strategic possibilities while line-drawn birds-eye maps published in the Los Angeles Times during the course of the Second
views detail the vulnerability of Californias two metropolises to aerial World War, this map gives a global perspective over North Africa, Iberia,
bombardment. The steaming aircraft carrier backed by the rising-sun France and the western Mediterranean to illustrate the threat to Gibraltar
motif of the Japanese empire in the upper left of the image is a typical after the fall of France. Owens used a cheap schoolroom globe to draw his
device used by Burke and Owens to dramatize the narrative aspects of high-angle perspectives, adding colour, directional arrows and pasted text
their maps. See page 46. inserts to explain the strategic implications of the map. See page 46.