Öyvind Fahlström Sketch for World Map 1972

  • Not on view

Fahlström was a poet and painter and expressed political concerns using fragments of poetry, newspapers, comic books, and magazines. He studied the history of Surrealism extensively, and the writings of Stéphane Mallarmé, Antonin Artaud, and Henri Michaux were influential sources for his work. Like Mallarmé, Fahlström arranged words in space, transforming them into rhythmic figures; like Artaud and Micheaux he practiced drawing with words as a form of exorcism. Sketch for World Map uses these Surrealist strategies to obsessively map the world. Its multiple sources are not assimilated literally but are assembled, according to artist Mike Kelley, in "a loose cartooning" way. This personal combination of the language of comics with pictorial means has been an important source of inspiration for contemporary artists, including Kelley, whose work is also on view in this exhibition.

Gallery label from Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, April 22, 2009–January 4, 2010.
Ink on pieced paper
19 x 37" (48.3 x 94 cm)
The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift
Object number
© 2024 Sharon Avery-Fahlström/ARS, New York
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


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 https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

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].