MAPLE CITY — It all started with a doodle.
Jerry Gretzinger doodled the beginnings of a map as a way to escape the boredom of a less than stimulating job at a ball bearings factory while attending the University of Michigan.
That was 1963. Today, nearly 50 years later, Gretzinger's map is comprised of 2,600 panels, spanning nearly 2,000 square feet, and will soon be exhibited by the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
"I had a romantic notion of what London or Paris would look like. It was roughly based on London but quickly took on a life of its own," said Gretzinger, 69, at the Maple City farm he shares with his wife and two dogs.
The map grew as it accompanied Gretzinger though college, a stint with the Peace Corps in Tunisia, to his SoHo loft in New York City, but eventually ended up in his Cold Spring, N.Y. attic while he raised a family.
"In 2003, my son Henry found the map in the attic. It was all dusty. He wanted to know what it was and if he could have it," said Gretzinger, whose interest in the project was quickly reignited.
Gretzinger's imaginary world, painted in shades from blue, green, grey and brown to reds and pinks, has evolved while it has expanded. Using an elaborate system to make revisions and additions, he chooses random instructions from a deck of modified playing cards.
"I used to work on the panels, taking them in order from the top to the bottom of the stack. When I got so many panels that it would have taken me years to get through the stack, I needed to devise a way to jump around," he said.
The cards, that Gretzinger refers to as future predictors, provide instructions like "add infrastructure," "new grey collage" or "new void." The later directs the artist to block out whatever features currently exist on a specified 8-by-10-inch panel and begin anew.
"When I'm with it, I work on it every day. My way of working is quirky. I may be back and forth working on it 15 times during the day," he said.
Gretzinger's map continues to be a work in progress, but he only recently began to consider it a work of art.
"He is persistent, deliberate in his randomness and crazy, in the best sense of the word," said his wife, Meg Staley, an artist in her own right.
For more than 20 years the couple owned a successful art-to-wear clothing line, Staley/Gretzinger. The Manhattan-based business manufactured and sold their exclusive designs at specialty stores across the country.
Gretzinger's favorite project began to get noticed in 2008 when he was invited to show 16 panels at an exhibit in Oakland, Calif. He received invitations to two larger showings a year later, including a 800 panel show for Grand Rapids' ArtPrize competition.
Inspired by her husband's newfound success, Staley commissioned a documentary filmmaker, Greg Whitmore, to tell the story of Jerry's Map. The short film, selected as a staff favorite on Vimeo, went viral on the online video library frequented by artists.
"It was really exciting, we had 55,000 hits in just a matter of three days," Gretzinger said.
Whitmore's film was brought to the attention of Joe Thompson, director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, who invited the artist to come talk about displaying the entire map for the first time.
"I have never seen the whole thing laid out. I thought if he invites me to show here, I'm going to burst into tears, I would be so happy," he said.
After discussing the logistics of exhibiting such a massive work, the two came to an agreement to display the map on the floor of the museum's Hunter Center with catwalks installed to allow for viewing from above.
Jerry's map will be on exhibit at the museum, Oct. 5-14, along with a reproduction of his Cold Spring studio on site.
"It is such a moment in a 70 year old life, to be able to see your life come together is kind of amazing. This is Jerry's time," Staley said.
Whitmore's film, "Jerry's Map," can be seen at http://vimeo.com/6745866.
MAPLE CITY — It all started with a doodle.
New zombie flick set in northern Michigan
Most days Brian Dawson is a mild-mannered veterinarian. Others he’s a flesh-eating zombie.Continued ...
Life after 'The Voice': Maloney out but not down following cut
Ryan Whyte Maloney is out but he isn’t down. The Traverse City native and “The Voice” contestant was cut from the show Tuesday after making it to the top 20 on Monday.Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 04/11/2014
Celebration for Pete Seeger; OTP Studio Theatre stages police drama; Dirt Fest; and more.Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 04/11/2014
New this week — Draft Day: At the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams. Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references. (HOR)Continued ...
Grand Rapids band feels 'at home' in TC
Members of Grand Rapids’ Sweet J Band consider Kilkenny’s Irish Public House in Traverse City their home away from home.Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 04/11/2014
Entertainment in the region:Continued ...
CNN bringing back Anthony Bourdain's hot travel series
Anthony Bourdain has traveled to all sorts of exotic places over the past couple of years, with none as important as where he’s taken CNN itself.Continued ...
Kiss not first to tell Rock Hall to kiss off
Graciousness is not always high on the list of attributes you find in successful rock ‘n’ roll stars.Continued ...
Interlochen Arts Festival lineup one of biggest in years
Traverse City native Mandy Alexander can’t wait to share the news with her fans. The 31-year-old Nashville performer will open for superstar Sheryl Crow at the Interlochen Arts Festival this summer.Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Maloney wins handily on latest 'The Voice' battle
Traverse City native Ryan Whyte Maloney survived “The Battles: Round Two” to wind up among the Top 20 contestants on TV’s "The Voice."Continued ...
- Friday, April 4, 2014
'New' country artist tops Cherry Fest entertainment
Academy of Country Music Awards nominee Justin Moore will top the entertainment lineup at the National Cherry Festival in July.Continued ...
Traveling with instruments brings baggage
Deborah Collins cringes a little every time her son, Luke, boards an airplane to travel cross country from the family's home in California to school at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.Continued ...
New TSO season features first outdoor concert
The Traverse Symphony Orchestra will pull out all the stops for its 63rd season.Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 04/04/2014
Leelanau players stage readings; smelt dinner; family band performs at Milliken; and more.Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 04/04/2014
What's going on after dark:Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 04/04/2014
New this week — Captain America-The Winter Soldier: Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world and battles a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier.Continued ...
Prom dress shopping perilous for plus-size girls
Maria Giorno has nothing against long gowns with high waists and flowing fabric — dresses that are designed to camouflage curves on plus-size women.Continued ...
'Captain America' superhero role 'epic' for Mackie
For Anthony Mackie, landing the role of the Falcon in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" meant more than inking his dream deal with Marvel.Continued ...
- Friday, March 28, 2014
Pay to Play: Cover songs will cost you
Sing your heart out — as long as your heart contains original, uncopyrighted material, to the exclusion, forthwith, of the same old song and dance.Continued ...
Student photo contest highlights digital technology
Maija Szarapski began taking pictures and riding lessons at about the same time — and fell in love with them both.Continued ...
TC native Maloney advances on 'The Voice'
Traverse City native Ryan Whyte Maloney bested country music singer Cali Tucker to advance on TV’s “The Voice” singing competition.Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 03/28/2014
Bluebird Festival; Bills Staines and Louann Lechler perform "On the Porch"; Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail event; and more.Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 03/28/2014
Entertainment in the region:Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 03/28/2014
New this week — Noah: A man is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission of rescue before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world. Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content. (HOR, BAY)Continued ...
Judge Joe Brown challenging contempt charges
Joe Brown gained fame by meting out justice as a TV judge. Now he’s the one facing charges.Continued ...
- New zombie flick set in northern Michigan