John Zarobell and Seeing Power through the Map
Our Spring Exhibition, Mapping the Uncharted, was recently the subject of an essay by Bay Area curator and professor John Zarobell. Excerpted from his essay, “Seeing Power Through the Map,” in this month’s edition of Art Practical:
The impulse of showing the state of the world through visual means is what maps accomplish even as the world we inhabit becomes ever-more virtual, and the tentacles of power increasingly opaque. Once a document of conquest, the map recreates the spaces that the mind traverses and occupies, creating networks for later exploration. As a means of representation, maps are reimagined and critiqued by artists in these two exhibitions and the underlying authority of maps is renegotiated. Viewers must make sense of each of these artistic maps and, in so doing, find their way in the world. Everyone is subject to power, but these maps help one to see through it.
John Zarobell is Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Director of International Studies at the University of San Francisco. Formerly, he held the positions of assistant curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and associate curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is a regular contributor to the San Francisco Art Quarterly (SFAQ) and the online journal Art Practical, has written for numerous exhibition catalogues and has published in Art History, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, and the Berkeley Review of Latin-American Studies. His first book, Empire of Landscape, was published in 2010 and his next, Art and the Global Economy, will be published by University of California Press in April 2017.
Image: Yayoi Kusama Painting, Diane Rosenblum