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Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Tube Map Cover apes Patterson's Great Bear

"Next stop Irony, for the Northern Line change at Compassion", could be the announcement from London Underground drivers based on the next Tube Map. May's cover, which will be at Tube stations from May 21st, replaces station names with an artist's experience of that part of London.

Tube Map Cover May 2010

If you think it looks familiar you're probably recalling Simon Patterson's Great Bear from 1992 where, station names were replaced by famous people. Or indeed any number of Tube map "mash ups" or spoofs which have followed (and usually banished by TfL ever since).

However, the powers that be, have decided in their infinite wisdom, that artistic Tube map mash ups are OK. They probably could have saved some money by getting the wags at b3ta to produce something. The Great Bear was sold at auction for £14,950 and I imagine the artist of this map, Barbara Kruger, didn't come cheaply.

If you can dress up a simple idea with enough creative and artistic words and get buy-in from TfL, convince them it's not going to "damage the brand", you're quids in! Art blog Aesthetica says: "Taking the very familiar visual language of the Tube map, she keeps the main image intact but changes the words – still in their daily uniform of the classic New Johnston Font – and liberates them from their daily function. St. James’s Park is momentarily renamed ‘Fame’, Westminster station becomes ‘Reason’ and Victoria station as ‘Pride’ completes a humorous triumvirate."

Humorous triumvirate, took the words right out of my mouth!

Sally Shaw, Art on the Underground's curator, said: "We are excited and privileged to be working with Barbara Kruger on this project. Untitled (Tube Map) presents a subtly humorous and human interpretation of life in the city, navigated via the Tube. I am looking forward to hearing what our customers think about Barbara’s work and the others in the series via our website."

I wonder whether the full map would also include stations liberated to be accurately renamed "Despair", "Boredom", "Dirty", "Sauna", "Pigeon dropping ridden" & "Pickpocket's delight"?


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