by Ingrid Schaffner

Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a crazy world)

This is the first “monograph” of Maira’s work. Although she has produced so many beloved books, my very favorite The Principles of Uncertainty, Elements of Style and numerous children’s books, there hasn’t been a book like this which celebrates her as an artist. The book was made to accompany the traveling exhibition of her paintings, drawings, embroideries, sketchbooks and photographs. (I can’t wait to see the show which won’t be coming to NY until next March…although the Julie Saul gallery often shows small exhibits of her work.) While this book does have a lot of commentary from Maira about her work, it feels a little too conventional. I’m used to Maira’s books feeling personal and clever and special. This book sort of feels like a plain old regular art book which just happens to have pieces by Maira in it and a couple essays from curators. Maybe this book isn’t exactly what I was expecting. But it still is filled with Maira’s work and images from an installation she did so if you’re a fan of hers, as much as me, you’ll still want a copy.

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