Maps II


Nina Katchadourian
Globe 1, 2019
Digital chromogenic print
Courtesy the Artist, Catharine Clark Gallery, and Pace Gallery
© Nina Katchadourian

Betts’s New Portable Terrestrial Globe
(London: John Betts, ca. 1851)
Printed fabric, mounted on metal framework and attached
to metal rod
Gift of Julia P. Wightman 1991; PML 88599


Nina Katchadourian: I find myself looking for maps or maybe sometimes just finding maps without looking for them in a lot of situations in daily life and I had been in Paris one summer and was about to cross the street when I looked down and on a metal stanchion pole that had been painted, a lot of the paint had worn away. And from this view I had looking down on it, it suddenly appeared like a very realistic globe with small island-like land masses on it. So I quickly took a picture of it with my cell phone just before I crossed the street. And looking back on it later was struck by how very realistically these landforms appeared. Because of the way the paint has worn out on the stanchion, the land forms had a very dimensional quality to them. And this piece makes me think back to the moss maps and ways that I've sometimes projected a map-like quality onto something in the world that isn't trying to be a map at all.

I deliberately went looking at the Morgan for maps and was very happy when I discovered Betts's Globe, which is described as a portable globe. And although I know it's not really meant to be taken out into the world and opened up and navigated with, I do like imagining someone trying to use it that way.