In the 1990s, Paula Scher began painting colorful typographic maps of the world, its continents, countries, islands, oceans, cities, streets and neighborhoods. Obsessive, opinionated and more than a little personal, the paintings were a reaction against information overload and a constant stream of news that presented skewed versions of reality in a deceptively authoritative way. The paintings are collected for the first time in this new book.

Paula Scher: MAPS presents 39 paintings, drawings, prints and environmental installations. Many of the original paintings are huge—as tall as twelve feet—and the book reproduces the works in full and with life-size details that reveal layers of hand-painted place names, information and cultural commentary. The book opens with an essay, “All Maps Lie,” by Scher about the influence of her father, a photogrammetric engineer who worked on aerial photography for the US Geological Service in the 1950s and taught her that maps are never totally accurate.

images (from top):
• The jacket unfolds to a 3′ x 2′ poster of a portion of World Trade, one of Scher’s most recent paintings.

• A mural at New York City’s Queens Metropolitan Campus. The painting depicts the New York metropolitan region with a focus on Queens and is installed in one of the school’s solariums.

The United States, hand-pulled silkscreen print, 2007.

Shock and Awe, colored pencil on paper, 2005.

Communication Arts

// From our friends at Communication Arts

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