Paula Scher’s MAPS Chelsea Exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Sometimes it feels almost unfair, the amount of enviable things Paula Scher has accomplished in her career. She spent most of the 1970s as an art director at CBS and Atlantic Records, designing some 150 album covers a year, including that iconic, monster-hit debut Boston LP, with its trippy flying saucers. The 1980s were spent honing her already considerable typographic-integrated-design skills with posters, book jackets and branding, and then in 1991 she became a partner at Pentagram and, through her highly-influential work creating identities for such clients as the New York Public Theater, Citibank, the MoMA, Coca Cola, and the New York City Ballet, helped make the company into the world-renowned design firm that it is today. AND somehow over the years, Paula Scher has also found the time and energy to create an incredible series of massive, beautiful, insanely intricate paintings that she calls MAPS.   

MAPS Collection by Paula Sher Mixes History, Politics & Geography

We've been to and immensely enjoyed several exhibitions of Paula Scher's maps over the years, and her latest show, at the intimate but always well-curated Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea, is as engaging and amazing as we expected it to be. Here are about a dozen of Paula Scher's huge canvases from her MAPS series, including three which are being shown for the first time anywhere, and all of which are done in her signature type-piled-upon-type style. Paula Scher's color-palettes are, as always, impeccably elegant. Her hand-drawn typography is clean yet exuberant. And, while certainly functioning as basic, familiar geographic charts, the maps themselves also provide an added layer of information or three, such as world-trade routes, or the spiraling damage of a tsunami, or the language within and the signers of the Antarctic Treaty System. Even if you had one of Paula Scher's maps in your home, and could spend time each day admiring both the work's beauty and depth, it would still probably take years to see it all.   

Exhibitions on 24th Street, a Midtown NYC Block where Galleries Converge

It's hard to choose favorites in a room like this, but the red-hued Japan stood out, as did Antarctica, Tsunami, and the enormous World Trade. PS: there are a number of other excellent exhibitions at galleries on this same block, 24th Street, in Chelsea NYC, including Joel Sternfeld's biting, amusing, and, for us, nostalgic photographs from the 1970s, First Pictures at Luhring Augustine; Michael St. John's twisted collages, In the Studio Twenty Eleven, in the back gallery of Andrea Rosen; Pierre Gonnord's searing high-def portraits, Relatos, at Hasted Kraeutler; and, of course, Ai Weiwei's magnificent Sunflower Seeds at Mary Boone, all running through February 4. Oh, and if you must, there's a Gagosian on the block as well, at which you can see Damien Hirst's money-grab of a show, Spot Paintings… one of ELEVEN Gagosian galleries worldwide showing this series simultaneously, through 2/18.  

Paula Scher: MAPS at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea details 

Paula Scher's map painting will be on display at at Bryce Wolkowitz through February 18. The The Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is located near The High Line in NYC on 24th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. For more information about Paula Scher: MAPS, please see the gallery's website.


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