From primitive man’s efforts to chart the heavens on the walls of the Lascaux caves more than 15,000 years ago, to 19th-century phrenologists’ attempts to diagram the functions of the brain, maps have been perceptual touchstones for understanding our place in the universe. That is the focus of “Mapping: Time and Space,” a group show opening Sunday at 7 p.m. at ArtCenter/South Florida (800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). In it, artists seek to redefine the map as a compass for exploring sex, consumption, communication, and growth. “Maps have always been this sort of universal method of communication,” says Lauren Wagner, director of exhibitions at the Bakehouse Art Complex, who curated the show. “While maps may have traditionally been used to understand a physical space, this exhibition will also explore mapping as it applies to temporal and internal space, such as the mapping of the mind or the mapping of our own digestive system and consumption.” Participating artists include collaborative duo Jake Margolin and Nick Vaughn, who employ found maps to elaborate their cross-country road trips, their sexuality, and individual states’ acceptance of same-sex marriages. Their arresting works are superimposed with political and historical documents and cut lace-like to evoke references to anatomical dissections of human vascular systems. “The intent and goal of the exhibit is to provide alternative and experimental ways of conceptualizing the map, its meanings, and its uses — converting the utilitarian object to a philosophical gateway,” Wagner says.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 12-10 p.m.; Fridays-Sundays, 12-11 p.m. Starts: Feb. 28. Continues through April 14, 2012