Charting Space: Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas at 70
In conjunction with the Aspen Institute’s primary exhibition devoted to the creation of the atlas presented in the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies, Andrew Travers, the inaugural Penner Manager of Educational Programming, has curated a year-long complementary educational presentation titled Charting Space: Herbert Bayer’s World Geo-Graphic Atlas at 70 in the Resnick Gallery located in the Doerr-Hosier Center. Intended for visitors of all ages, but particularly for K-12 youths, the installation uses Bayer’s atlas as a springboard to explore current issues related to our world including, travel, natural resources, population, and conservation. Making use of interactive elements and multimedia experiences, the layout unfolds in three sections focusing on the themes that Bayer used to visualize the world for readers: the observable universe; the planet Earth; and individual states and countries.
A highlight of this installation is a recreation of Herbert Bayer’s “Outside-In Globe” originally erected in 1943 for his exhibition Airways to Peace: An Exhibition of Geography for the Future created for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The original 13-foot globe transferred the countries and bodies of water of the earth from the exterior – as was typically presented – to the interior of the sphere. This allowed the viewer, standing inside the globe, to see a greater proportion of the earth’s surface and to observe the spatial relationships that were not understood in a two-dimensional map. Bayer’s globe also emphasized the importance of air travel in the strategy of World War II and the vision of peace to come. The new 8-foot version, which is suspended from the Isaacson room ceiling, represents an updated map and allows the viewer to be immersed within it. It is available to be experienced by all visitors to the campus of the Aspen Institute.
FROM RAW IMAGE TO TIMELESS ART
Bayer brought his fine artist’s sensibility and his humanistic approach to imagery from astronomers and physicists to most effectively communicate with readers.
To replicate an eruptive prominence of the sun, Bayer studied raw images of the phenomenon from the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California and the High Altitude Observatory in Colorado to illustrate his own in a fiery red.