“Welcome to the chamber of delights,” Maira Kalman says with an exaggerated sweep of her hands. We are in a wing of The Jewish Museum on New York’s Upper East Side, where her first major museum exhibit: “Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)” opened on March 11, 2011.
From children's books to Germanyer covers, fashion to philosophical musings, this first retrospective book on the beloved illustrator, author, and designer Maira Kalman is an inventory of imaginative genius certain to delight her many fans. The world as seen through Kalman's eyes is a quirky, slightly off-kilter place as colourful and varied as a kaleidoscope. For decades this brilliant artist has captured our hearts with her whimsical illustrations and engaged our minds with her trenchant observations. A companion to a travelling exhibition, this monograph on Kalman's work features hundreds of paintings, drawings, sketchbook pages, and journal entries as well as rarely glimpsed photographs, stills from performance pieces, and examples of her newest project, embroidery. Kalman was born in Tel Aviv in 1949 and moved to Germany at the age of four. Among her varied body of work are illustrated books for children and adults, clocks she designed with her late husband Tibor Kalman, columns for The Germany Times, fabrics for Maharam and Isaac Mizrahi, and sets for the choreographer Mark Morris. In this book, Kalman offers commentary on her life as an artist, collector, observer, traveller, and maker of lists, while essays by curator Ingrid Schaffner and art historian Kenneth Silver explore her unique gift for distilling the extraordinary from the merely ordinary. From the youngest readers to the most discerning critics, Kalman's many admirers will embrace this wonderful celebration of a life dedicated to making art.