Dec 5, 2013

The London Tube Map Brings Work of Art to Everyone

Yes I am a little Obsessed! I did warn you though..

Yayoi Kusama and her cover for the London Underground Map

1949 - H Beck London Map

No, it is not another blog post about Yayoi Kusama, but instead about how artists such as Kusama (above) and the London Underground have come together to bring a little "piece of art" to everyone.

For those of you that have ever visited London, you will know how important the "TUBE" is to get around from one point to another. The original London Underground diagram, designed by Harry Beck is one of the greatest designs of the twentieth century. He introduced many of the symbols that have become a staple to all transportation maps, such as the circles to indicate connections, color coding and other small graphic details which enable the user to not only comprehend the complex system of transportation that lies just below the surface, while producing a simple, easy to follow piece of information graphics. 

While browsing through the internet on the hunt for more information on Kusama's work, I came across this collection of Maps on that were commissioned by Art on the Underground which made me feel a little "homesick" for London.

It's so rich in culture and continues to make every effort to maintain and support it's artists of every caliber and style. From the Turner Prize, to these efforts of mass marketing on the simplest of scales, each Londoner and visitor walks away with a chance to become part of the integral lines that make up the city. The tube lines.

Discover just but a few of the maps that made me smile.. and a little more about each of the artists here.

SARAH MORRIS - Painter, Film Maker

'Petrobras [Rio]' by Sarah Morris
17th cover Tube map series  December 2012

Sarah Morris - People's Bank [Los Angeles], 2004

MICHAEL LANDY - sculptor, performance artist

July 2011 - Michael Landy - All my lines in the palm of your hand
tracing of the artist’s own hand in pencil; the creases and lines of the hand are represented by lines drawn in the various colors of the Tube map

Michael Landy: Saints Alive at London's National Gallery

RICHARD LONG - Installation artist // Sculptor

01 Sep 2009- Richard Long - Earth



Dec 2008 - Pae White
...fragment of a Magic Carpet, circa 1213
 using the flying carpet motif as a suggestion of magical transport

Pae White - Installation


Eva Rothschild, Good Times (March 2011)

Legend - Eva Rothschild - 2009 (c) TATE

JEREMY DELLER - conceptual, video and installation artist. Social commentator.

Jun 2007 - Jeremy Deller with Paul Ryan
Portrait of John Hough

John Hough,  Transport for London’s longest serving member of staff retired that June & Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller decided to honor him with this portrait.

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2008

DAVID SHRIGLEY - illustrator, visual artist

Nov 2005 - David Shrigley - Untitled
an abstract tangle made up of the same colored lines used on the Tube map itself

Hard Work - 2000 - David Shrigley

PAUL NOBLE - The artist that masters the pencil

Paul Noble, Untitled (December 2008)

Paul Noble -Acumulus Noblitatus

YINKA SHONIBARE - British-Nigerian artist living in London whose work explores cultural identity

Yinka Shonibare MBE - Global Underground Map

Yinka Shonibare's Global Underground Map is the artist's vision of London - and London Underground and its users - as a microcosm of the world.

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Fibreglass, steel, brass, resin, UV ink on printed cotton textile, linen rigging, acrylic and wood
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

for those that are interested... there is an article on DeZeen of the newly redesigned map, which is meant to have a more literal geographical layout by London designer Mark Noad.

*images of maps via

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