Paula Scher Lies. Like A Rug. In A Good Way.


A few weeks ago we went to Paula Scher’s show at the Maya Stendhal Gallery, where the Pentagram graphic designer and fellow Seymour Chwast enthusiast had painted these enormous maps that were full of textual information and cartographical license. We liked them, and took a few cameraphone shots, but it seems that far less ephemeral journalists also took a look.

The last time we went we noticed a total typo in the state of Oregon. Scher wrote Corallis. Yeah, except our grandma lives there and it’s Corvallis. So we were all like that’s what happens when you try and draw a map of every single thing that exists in the world, you know, you’re just going to get things wrong, and then it occurred to us that maybe, just maybe, it was part of a larger statement about artistic license and facts and information and maybe even the complete impossibility of mapping things as apocryphal as vote numbers and museum names. Mason Currey, writing in Metropolis, actually did his interviewing, and it turns out we weren’t so wrong:

And, unlike their predecessors, the maps in the exhibition eschew opinion in favor of a barrage of facts–or at least the appearance of fact. “They’re all wrong,” Scher says. “I mean, nothing’s in the right spot. I put in what I feel like. It’s my comment on information in general. We receive a lot of information all the time and mostly it’s lies or slight mistruths.”

Just how we like our reality.