Patterson replaced the names of stations on the London Underground map with names of film stars, explorers, philosophers, saints, footballers, comedians, politicians, journalists, celebrities, artists, and planets in order to suggest new relationships between them and challenge the connectedness of things. "The diagrammatic Tube map and the star constellation The Great Bear are two of the most internationally renowned and easily accessible systems for ordering complex information. By adapting one and adopting the name of the other, Patterson's new arrangement of the 'stars' challenges the authority and function of both systems." said the London Transport Museum.
In 1992 The Great Bear was on display in the Tate Gallery and shortlisted for the Turner Prize. It also made it into the Sensation exhibition at The Royal Academy in 1997. But is it art? Matthew Collings and art critic from the Independent wrote "Where exactly is the art in 'The Great Bear'? Is it the concept or the execution? Is it about words or places?"
Probably spurred by this, in 1997 the Have I Got News for You team, produced their own Tube map for the back of their book Have I Got 1997 for You - an annual round up of the year.
Unfortunately I won't be able to go along to Patterson's talk tomorrow but the London Transport Museum have kindly offered a couple of tickets. If you'd like them please email me, it'll be first come first served. Otherwise tickets can be pre booked on 020 7565 7298 and cost £8.00 adults; £6.00 concessions and £4.00 for students. Full details are at the London Transport Museum's events site.