LA Artist’s Map: The Evan Holloway system

Artist, Evan Holloway enjoys “mapping.” In this piece, “Relative Frequency” made in ’08, Mr. Holloway mapped every letter of the alphabet based on the frequency that the letters are used in the English language. Around the circumference of an inner tube, Holloway placed the letters equidistant from each other and then suspended the inner tube around a vertical pole painted with 27 different colors. Based on the usage frequency of each letter there is a string tied from the letter to the corresponding color. The lines connect to the letter’s usage in language and the piece becomes a map of the alphabet.

The idea of “mapping” is evident in other Holloway pieces.  But aside from making artwork with mapping elements, Evan Holloway created a theoretical map/grid that locates artists based on their style and form. As seen below, this simple grid has a vertical axis rising from “Technical-Cool” to “Hot-Emotional.” On the horizontal axis we have “Loose-Wet” moving across to “Tight-Dry” on the right. Based on this system we can place every artist, such as Edward Kienholz who would be mapped as “Loose-Emotional” or “Wet-Hot,” or perhaps an artist such as Solomon Sol Lewitt who would be more of a “Tight-Technical” or “Dry-Cool” artist.

When I first heard Evan Holloway explain this “artist map,” I liked it so much that I decided to try an experiment.  I took Mr. Holloway’s grid and overlaid it on top of a map of LA. I was curious where the coordinates on this grid would end up on a map of Los Angeles. It turns out that, Glendale is “Hot and Emotional.” Watts is “Cool and Technical.” There is the “Loose-Wet” Beverly Hills and the “Tight-Dry” Monterey Park. Now if we reapply Kienholz and Sol Lewitt on this map, we come up with “Hollywood Kienholz” and “East Los Angles Sol Lewitt.”

Hopefully this little experiment helps you navigate the art world a bit better and find your way around Los Angeles with greater ease.

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