(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Before popular world-building games like Sim City and Minecraft, there was visual artist Jerry Gretzinger. Gretzinger has created a vast living map comprised of individual, handcrafted panels, a map which evolves and shape-shifts as he reworks a panel every day. With over 2,600 painted and collaged panels spanning a jaw-dropping 2,000 square feet, the extraordinary project comes to MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, where Jerry’s Map will be displayed publicly, in its entirety, for the very first time, for nine days only — Friday, October 5, 2012 through Sunday, October 14, 2012.
During the exhibition, Gretzinger will continue to work on the project, while filmmaker Greg Whitmore uses this opportunity to convert the entire Hunter Center into a film soundstage, documenting the artist and this project. MASS MoCA will host a special Meet the Artist party with Gretzinger and Whitmore on Saturday, October 6, from 5 to 7pm.
Jerry’s Map began in 1963 when Gretzinger doodled a map of a small imaginary town on a piece of paper. Then, in Gretzinger’s words, “there was this moment when I came to the edge of that sheet of paper and got out another sheet of paper and… I taped them together. That’s when I kind of realized, it had a life of its own.”
Gretzinger’s world, the imaginary country of Ukrania, changes every day through a unique combination of detailed procedures and pure chance. To guide this evolution, Gretzinger devised an elaborate card deck inscribed with instructions — the map’s “future predictor. ” Each morning he chooses a card that determines his course of action for the day — one day he might add new features to a panel; the next, he might completely void one out.
In his two-week MASS MoCA residency, Gretzinger will reveal the process and philosophy behind his decades-long mapping project during the production of a documentary film about the map by independent filmmaker Gregory Whitmore. Whitmore’s most recent feature documentary, Kabul Transit, debuted at the Full Frame Documentary Festival and traveled to film festivals in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. His work includes video and photographic archive preservation at the Afghan Media Resource Center, the Williams Afghan Media Project, and short films including a look into the pneumatic garbage system disposal system in use on NYC’s Roosevelt Island, profiles of contemporary American photographers, and an instructional film about the construction of a double reed wind instrument called a murali played by the Merasi of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan in India.
Jerry’s Map will be on display in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA from Friday, October 5, through Sunday, October 14, during gallery hours, 11am – 5pm every day except Tuesdays. A Meet the Artist Party will take place on Saturday, October 6, 5 – 7 pm. Tickets to the party, or entry to the Hunterduring gallery hours, are $5. MASS MoCA members are admitted free. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 am – 5 pm (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.