For The 49 States, Jensen traveled virtually through the continental United States by means of Google Street View, an online mapping tool that provides 360-degree panoramic views of locations throughout the world. The artist chose one image from each of the forty-nine states covered by Street View when he was working on the project, using image-processing software to adjust color and contrast, straighten perspectives, and fill in gaps. The resulting images are ordered alphabetically by state abbreviation. The square format recalls the look of color snapshots made with instamatic cameras in the 1960s, when American vacationers took to the roads in record numbers. While the work memorializes the age of the great American road trip, it also signals a new understanding of the landscape as a virtual space to be explored by the armchair traveler parked in front of a computer.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Signed, editioned, and titled by the artist in black ink on last print in series [Wyoming], verso: "Matthew Jensen // 1/7 The 49 States"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "After Photoshop," September 25, 2012–May 27, 2013.