A Field Guide and Handbook to the High Line

Mark Dion


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  • Printed Matter
  • 2013
  • ISBN 9780894390869
  • 48 pages
  • Softcover, couloured and bw illustrations
  • 18 × 11.5 × 0.6 cm

Presented as an alternative survey of some of the curious aspects of New York’s iconic High Line, this Field Guide by American artist Mark Dion provides an account of the wildlife, plants, and insects that inhabit the space, as well as essays considering the social context and history of the site. Full of peculiar observations, rumours, speculations, and mostly true facts, the Field Guide encourages viewers to question popular ideologies that define today’s “official” history of the elevated park. It includes “thoughts, musings and histories,” such as a timeline of events on the High Line, a “concise” guide to the wildlife, and illustrated guide to the plants of the area, Facts, Myths, & Rumors and even a Lost & Found section.

Printed Matter is pleased to release an updated 2nd edition of its best-selling title A Field Guide and Handbook to the High Line from artist Mark Dion. The publication is co-published with Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organization that maintains and operates New York’s High Line park.

A Field Guide and Handbook to the High Line is a pocket-sized artists’ project offering an alternative survey to some curious aspects of New York’s elevated High Line park. Presenting an account – both anecdotal and scientifically minded – of the fauna and insect-life that thrives there, the book serves as a colorful introduction to the vast and varied ecology of the High Line. Full of peculiar observations, rumors, speculations, and mostly-true facts, Field Guide captures the manifold experience of moving along the elevated greenway through a towering cityscape.

Editor Ethan Hauser and art historian Kenneth Helphand have offered essay contributions that consider the historical significance of the structure and place it within a broader trajectory of urban design through precedents of “an elevated plain”. The project is designed by New Yorker-illustrator  and includes several of his own digital artworks that are finger painted on an iPhone. Illustrations of High Line wildlife are by Bryan Wilson.

This re-edition of Field Guide includes a new cover colorway, updates the High Line’s 87-year timeline (bringing us to present), as well as an expanded map from Naomi & Emmy Reis to include the newest section of the High Line extending north of West 30th street.

The publication is offset-printed in an edition of 6000 copies, saddle-stitched.

Mark Dion is an American artist well known for a challenging body of work dealing with scientific methodology and orders of classification. His installations often take the form of curiosity cabinets, collecting and organizing objects to investigate how we come to understand history, knowledge and the natural world. In 2004 Dion had a major exhibition at the MoMA. He is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.