I am not exactly certain which piece of the brain makes one human better with maps than another. All I know is, mine is deficient because I have always been the worst with interpreting maps. Thank goodness for the invention of the GPS, as I would be lost both literally and figuratively. Remember the Thomas Guide? I mean, every Angeleno had one in her car, but I would love to know who was really capable of reading that thing and driving simultaneously. Anywho, one kind of map that never gets old for me is any created by a contemporary artist. Many are abstract and some are more literal. Regardless, it is a common thread in art, often exploring themes of identity, history, politics, society, and systems. The following are some of my favorites.



Mark Bradford. Photo: Alistair Guy

Mark Bradford. Photo: Alistair Guy.

It is almost impossible to believe that Mark’s technique involves no painting. His mother was a hairdresser and, as a little boy, Mark would create art with the little papers she used to twist her clients’ hair. He continues this layering/collage methodology and then removes some pieces to create geographic images that are simultaneously beautiful and political. They are endlessly interesting and intellectually challenging.


Hauser & Wirth
London, Zurich, New York, and coming to L.A. 2015: Hauser Wirth & Schimmel



El Anatsui, Adinkra Sasa

El Anatsui, Adinkra Sasa

El Anatsui is a most distinguished contemporary artist who utilizes materials such as bottle caps to create shimmering wall sculptures. Many of his pieces are maps or at least resemble them in shape. They all explore a variety of political and historical issues. This Ghanaian artist references African culture with his choice of material and concept.


Jack Shainman Gallery
524 West 24th Street
New York City



Keith Tyson, Operator Painting "Labyrinth". Photo: Blum & Poe.

Keith Tyson, Operator Painting “Labyrinth.” Photo: Blum & Poe.

Keith Tyson is an English artist who has created a few different map series. His work has been exhibited internationally in prominent public and private collections. A Turner Prize winner, Keith Tyson’s work examines systems and complex methodology. He produces paintings, drawings, and sculptures. His maps are like poetry and completely pull the viewer in.


Blum & Poe
19 East 66th Street
New York City

2727 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles

Pace Gallery
508 West 25th Street
New York City



Guillermo Kuitca, Untitled (Unclaimed Luggage).

Guillermo Kuitca, Untitled (Unclaimed Luggage)

Guillermo Kuitca is an Argentine visual artist who is known for his abstract maps. Most notably, he has placed map images on mattresses. Whether theoretical or literal, Kuitca’s work almost always incorporates topography and architecture. Similar to other contemporary artists who favor map images, he utilizes them as a way to examine organizational systems.


Hauser & Wirth
London, Zurich, New York, and coming to L.A. 2015: Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

Xx Lottie Dottie