Noah Kalina

Though we treat them as indisputable fact, all maps are biased depictions of the world. Mapmakers must make choices that reveal individual preferences: deciding between competing place names, for instance. (Not to mention how 2D maps inevitably distort our 3D world.) In Maps, graphic designer Paula Scher showcases her creative take on “opinionated” cartography with a collection of 39 paintings made of place names. The lauded Pentagram partner (whose work is in the MoMA) paints “eye of tsunami” in the Indian Ocean and the New York City subway map over Manhattan, among other whimsies. But from an arm’s length, country and continent outlines are clear. Though the genesis of the 20-year project was Scher painting maps for fun, the assemblage highlights the Postmodern maxim that truth is hard to find. In another creative twist, the book’s cover itself is a map that can be taken off and framed. • $50; Princeton Architectural Press, October 2011.