In Transit

Arb

Cowling Arboretum Contemplative Transit System map (detail), 2009
David Lefkowitz '85

An urban subway and a nature center don’t have much in common, but David Lefkowitz ’85, associate professor of art at Carleton, combines the two in his Cowling Arboretum Contemplative Transit System, displayed last spring at the Carleton Art Gallery’s exhibit Natural Resourcery: Studio Art Faculty Go Outdoors. Lefkowitz overlaid the arboretum trail map with a subway transit map that, according to the artist, “abstracts, flattens, and simplifies the existing topography, effectively distancing the potential map user from the natural space represented, yet ironically functioning as a potentially helpful orienteering tool.”

In his work, Lefkowitz frequently addresses the ambivalent relationship between humans and the natural world. “I’m fascinated by representation—what gets left out by a map,” he says. “It’s a choice about how to look at the world, and that determines our behavior and interaction with it.”

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