Art Month: Meet Maira Kalman

Art Month: Meet Maira Kalman

Chris Phillips
Jan 10, 2007

Snacks and fear are important parts of Maira Kalman's creative process, she says.

Both snacks and fear can be found in this panel about breakfast after a bad dream in Paris. Kalman posted this to her New York Times blog (subscription required). The text reads: "The pinky pink pate that totaly wipes at the last vestiage of malaise."

Kalman is most well known for the New Yorkistan cover for The New Yorker and her twelve children's books. She's also designed fabric and, working with her husband, created a line of clocks, watches and other products for sale through MoMa. Kalman's art about food is now getting more attention.

Last summer, Kalman wrote and ilustrated an Ode to Breakfast in a special Gourmet magazine summer reader. Check out Ruth Richel's podcast interview with her here.

This painting, with the caption "Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand!", is from Kalman's illustrated version of Strunk and White's classic text The Elements of Style.

"Wild of tongue in a way we can understand" provides a way of seeing Maira Kalman's food-related art. The food she shows us is recognizable, home-y even. There's chocolates, eggs, lollypops, a family at a noodle shop. But there's usually something wild, wacky or a bit disconcerting there too: a kinfe slashing through cold butter, a bunny painted in to a corner, or a precarious boquet tilting toward the floor.

Kalman's work is shown at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan.

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