Category Archives: Cincinnati

Findlay Doll

Saw this outside Madison’s.


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Filed under Cincinnati, folk art, public art, public space

Mapping Cartography

I love maps. I probably fall short of being a cartophile, because there are some serious collectors and scholars on the subject, but maps fascinate me. Not only are maps visually beautiful as artistic and design endeavors, but they encompass many of my other interest as well; geography, cities, their planning, sociology, the list goes on. So I was generally excited about the current show at the CAC, Uncoordinated: Mapping Cartography in Contemporary Art.

Until, yesterday I didn’t have time to make it to the exhibit, plus there was the added bonus of free admission to the museum on Mondays as well as a lecture by Denis Wood, author of The Power of Maps, which is required reading for geographers and should be for designers. Reading the description of the exhibit (at the link above) it seemed to sum up all my interest of maps rather succinctly and brought it together with my slant towards cultural criticism. Add the context of a contemporary art institution and my expectations shot sky high. I expected to experience first hand what was offered by another top ten book on my list, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination.

So I was pretty disappointed when I reached the fourth floor and walked around and saw very little that seemed to represent what the exhibit promotion seemed to be advertising and what I had imagined from the exhibit description and my familiarity with Denis Wood and You Are Here, even though both were in some way associated with the exhibit. Very few of the works did little more than appropriate the formal aspects of maps, which to me cheapens both the realm of contemporary art and map making.

The lecture saved the night for me. It was a very detailed, information packed, thought provoking look at the history of maps in art practice. Each example of Wood’s, beginning with dada and including my personal favorite, the situationist The Naked City , really dealt with the ability of art to appropriating not just the form, but the language of maps. Wood actually did an excellent job explaining the reason why maps and art have so often been married to communicate ideas and information, not just geographic but philosophical and social, in contemporary culture.

For those that missed the lecture, or also found the exhibit a bit short on substance, stay tuned for the re-release of Wood’s book The Power of Maps, which will include a new chapter on map art.


Filed under Cincinnati, Elsewheres, Imaging

I actually like your stuff

But please don’t use guerrilla tactics to advertise to me. I saw this at the exit to the fountain sq. garage today and can’t help but wonder a couple of things. First, is it from a street team, and if so is there any enforcement? As an admirer of street art and the like I have to be offended. I understand that corporations have rights and even that their ability to co-opt these things in some way legitimizes them.

Still, it is against the law and it just seems wrong for corporate interest to appropriate tactics used by individuals because much the same corporate interest have reduced their power. I guess it goes both ways, corporations appropriate individuals’ tactics as much as is the case here (in one of the 3CDC’s brand colors, no less). But what gives individuals the power to resist the corporate dominance of public space, particularly through advertising in this case, is that individuals often can’t be traced back to a corporate entity and don’t really receive any personal gain from it. The risk is the same, but the payoff is much higher for corporations. Shouldn’t the punishment fit the extent of the benefit gained through illegal means.

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Filed under Cincinnati, public space

Been on the dl lately

If you haven’t already you should check out VisuaLingual’s blog. It already has some great post and is sure to keep everyone updated on local design-minded happenings.

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Filed under Cincinnati

First Pros

Maybe someone out there can explain something that has bothered me since I moved to Cincinnati. How is it possible for the Reds to be the first professional baseball team? It is a game, you need at least two teams to play. How is it of any consequence to be the first? Was the second team declared two seconds later? What is the deal with this constantly referred to stat about Cincinnati?

To me it seems like another case of Cincinnati just creating achievements rather than actually doing anything.


Filed under Cincinnati

More Ghost Signs

A few more ghost signs around the neighborhood and downtown


The Belmont Cafe building and sign being demolished to make room for a parking lot


Rosco’s on-site sign appears to be repainted recently, but the storefront is closed


I am curious of the date of this huge Paramount Vodka sign

Need Money see WILL is vine covered


Rugs, Baking: Downtown off fourth


Hard to get a shot of this one along Vine


Detail of the above sign’s type


More layers than I can decipher

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Filed under Cincinnati, ghost signs, Historic Preservation, OTR

I can’t help it.

This article should clarify things but it seems like the reporting is being decidely divisive. The “opponents” of the plan aren’t actually opposing the streetcar.

The statement that “backers of the proposal agree that the longer progress is delayed, the lower the chances that a streetcar line will be built.” is only true if there is reason for it not to be built, which isn’t true, if it is well planned and not rushed through.

In my opinion, the opposition wants to insure that the streetcar works well and not just built, not even that it doesn’t get built.


Filed under Cincinnati