Beginning Thursday, February 26 through Sunday, September 6, 2015, BRIC and Brooklyn Historical Society will co-present Mapping Brooklyn, an exhibition featuring contemporary art works that use maps, cartography and other visual guides to reveal data around Brooklyn and its evolution, from past to present.
The historic maps will be drawn from BHS’s collection, one of the richest collections of maps of Brooklyn in the world.
Curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, vice president of Contemporary Art at BRIC, and spanning the galleries at BRIC House, located at 647 Fulton Street, and Brooklyn Historical Society, located at 128 Pierrepont Street, Mapping Brooklyn explores the myriad ways maps represent practical matters such as wayfinding, property ownership, population shifts and war strategy, while also navigating the metaphorical, the psychological and the personal.
“In practical terms, maps provide information on navigating from point a to point b, but in metaphorical terms, they become the springboard for thinking about history, personal exploration, social and political issues, and our place in the world,” said Ferrer. “I’m excited about the highly innovative ways that the artists in this exhibition use ideas drawn from mapping to create varied works exploring a range of issues and creative ideas.”
Many of the artists have conducted research into the BHS map collection and have selected the historic maps that will be shown alongside their work. Participating artists include Aaron Beebe, Daniel Bejar, Francisca Benitez, Gail Biederman, Justin Blinder, Christine Gedeon, Katarina Jerinic, Joyce Kozloff, Laura Kurgan, Peter Lapsley, Jennifer Maravillas, Simonetta Moro, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Jan Rothuizen, Patricia Smith, Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin, and Sarah Williams.
“This exhibition not only allows us to share the wide range of historic maps in our collection,” said Deborah Schwartz, president of Brooklyn Historical Society, “it also places these technical documents in a contemporary context to reveal their influence over universal ideas like the need to belong, the desire for representation, and the constantly changing nature of the borough and the world around us.”
From a Red Scare-era map depicting enclaves of suspected radical activity, to a map of one of Brooklyn’s earliest botanic gardens showing plots of exotic plants and fruits, to nautical charts, more than a dozen or so historic maps, atlases and contemporary art works, including paintings, photography sculptures, historic documents and interactive installations will be on view at BRIC House (February 26 – May 3) and then BHS (February 26 – September 6), with an opening reception at BRIC on Wednesday, February 25, 7:00pm – 9:00pm.