Tone-bar room map

Robert Overby American

Not on view

Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Overby was a multidisciplinary artist and graphic designer whose process-oriented practice prefigured the Postminimalist aesthetic of artists like Rachel Whiteread. Between 1970 and 1972 Overby used concrete, wax, latex, and canvas to create records of architectural spaces and quotidian objects, ranging from an entire living room to a single sock. To produce this work, he first applied latex to a hotel room’s interior wall. Then, using strips of canvas, he traced the wall’s two doorways, ceiling molding, and baseboards onto the cast, creating a 
to-scale map of the space. The room’s features became less identifiable after the artist transferred them to the canvas, bringing the work to the brink of abstraction. As Overby noted, through this condensed visual language, the "common object [is] seen not as the common object for itself, but by its existence as a form by transfer."

Tone-bar room map, Robert Overby (American, Harvey, Illinois 1935–1993 Los Angeles, California), Canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.