The Author’s Bookshelf: Maira Kalman

“I tend to like books that are episodic and disoriented and dreamlike.

with a thrilling selection of very good words and sentences.

along with those books you need some photography books and some fashion books.

then all is well.”


Maira Kalman has worked as a designer, author, illustrator and artist for more than thirty years without formal training. Her work is a narrative journal of her life and all its absurdities.

She has written and illustrated twelve children’s books including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate and Swami on Rye. She often illustrates for The New Yorker magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the “NewYorkistan” cover in 2001. Recent projects include The Elements of Style (illustrated), and a monthly on-line column entitled Principles of Uncertainty (2006–07) and The Pursuit of Happiness (2008–09) for The New York Times.

Maira Kalman has had four exhibitions at the Julie Saul Gallery since 2003. In 2010, The Institute of Contemporary Art organized a retrospective of Kalman’s work, entitled “Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World),” which traveled to the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA), the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA) and the University of Pennsylvania. The retrospective will be at The Jewish Museum in NYC through July 2011 and it will feature drawings, ladders and a cabinet of curiosities. They will also have a small pop-up shop selling egg slicers, sponges, cans of mushy peas, etc.