Monday, July 08, 2019

The Geography of American Art

Every two years New York's Whitney Museum of American Art hosts the Whitney Biennial, an exhibition of work by new artists. The exhibition catalogs of the Whitney museum include an address for every featured artist (either a studio, home or gallery address). The New York Times has extracted these artist addresses from every catalog since 1932 to map out the geography of American art.

The first map in the NYT's Mapping the Whitney Biennial shows the location of artists across the United States by year. To be honest this first map isn't particularly informative. You probably won't be too shocked to discover from the map that an art museum in New York seems to feature a lot of artists from New York.

Far more interesting is what comes after this initial map. After this chronological map the Times has created a series of maps exploring where artists have lived-worked in individual cities, states and regions. It includes maps based on the listed addresses of artists in New York, Los Angeles, Texas, Chicago and the Midwest. These maps are a little more interesting as they help to reveal where artist communities have emerged in different American cities and regions. They are also interesting in revealing where individual artists have lived and worked in some of America's largest cities.

At the end the NYT has mapped out the New York neighborhoods where artists lived in 1932, 1973 and in 2019. These maps show how the center of New York art has shifted over the decades from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

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