Personal Geographies


Map as Art detail


Katharine Harmon's  You Are Here, an ingenious exploration of the border-bending speculative capabilities of mapmaking, was published six years ago, and remains a book I love losing myself in from time to time. Gathering a few score exhibits -- an estate outlined from a dog's perspective, a map of success, and assorted "personal geographies" -- created by artists and cartographers, it is nourishing food for one's imagination.


Harmon's new book, The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, extends the boundaries of her celebration of mapmaking. [Click the image above for a larger view of the cover piece, by Jules de Balincourt.]   Employing a range of media and states of mind that range from the playful to the political, the artists represented between the book's covers-including Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Olafor Eliasson, and many others -- map landscapes familiar, unknown, invented. The result is a beautiful, captivating volume.


Pictured here are details from João Machado's Swimming  and Peter Dykhuis's You Are Here, a map of Halifax Harbor (click on the images to see book spreads).




Halifax Harbor



-James Mustich

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).