Counter-Mapping the Art History Survey

An art history survey, traditionally taught, follows a canon of “masterpieces” created mostly by white males of Western European descent. If mapped, the dots representing works in this canon would be clustered heavily around France, Greece, and Italy. The students in my Art History and It’s Meaning class at Brooklyn College, a required course with completely trans-disciplinary enrollment, collaborated to research and create their own map. Students researched and wrote about the architecture and art that surrounds them in New York City. Our class map displays these sites, which range from the Flatiron Building to Banksy’s NYC graffiti. As such, it models a different kind of art history, a history that is written by students, rather than textbooks:

A group of my students also collaborated on their own map, which shows graffiti created by street artist Banksy around NYC. Here is the map by Gedalya David Gottdenger, Solomon Ammons, and Lana Smith:


1 Comment

  1. This is a terrific project! I love art and happened to visit a few of the Banksy sites. I saw the one near BMCC the very next day after it appeared. It’s very exciting for those who appreciate the beauty in graffiti artwork. It would be so wonderful to build on this project through multiple semesters…your students could create a worldwide Banksy map for art lovers! This is such an amazing use of mapping. Congratulations to you and your students.


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