Franz Ackermann Faceland/White Crossing, I 2001

  • Not on view

Inspired by the Germanic tradition of the wanderer, Ackermann is an itinerant artist whose nomadic experiences are central to his practice. Over the past decade, he has traveled around the world realizing a series of small, diaristic drawings that he calls "mental maps." Ackermann is intrigued by urban themes such as architecture and traffic patterns, but his semiabstract renderings, which seem to represent views of land or cities, are not meant to record what he sees on his journeys. Instead, Ackermann’s drawings can be understood as landscapes of his mind, attempts to capture his visual experiences in abbreviated, abstract form with intense color. From these drawings he creates large-scale theatrical paintings in a fragmented, Cubist-inspired language.

Here Ackermann literalizes his project. In Faceland / White Crossing, I he composes a self-portrait from highly detailed perspectival fragments of the urban landscape, as if Ackermann the nomad has become the land itself. This self–portrait is installed against a wall drawing of meandering, overlapping paths pictured boldly in black and white.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 194.
Pencil, synthetic polymer paint, and gouache on paper in artist's frame (installed with wall drawing)
33 x 25" (83.8 x 63.5 cm) (framed drawing) installation dimensions variable
Fractional and promised gift of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg
Object number
© 2022 Franz Ackermann
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].