Ooh-la-la (Maira We Love)

It is here. It is finally here! Maira Kalman (Ooh-la-la) at the Jewish Museum in New York, opening on Friday, March 11 (Ooh-la-la)!

The first major museum survey of the work of illustrator, author and designer Maira Kalman (b. 1949, Tel Aviv), known for her whimsical yet probing imagery, opens at The Jewish Museum on March 11 and remains on view through July 31, 2011. Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) features a selection spanning thirty years of 100 original paintings, drawings, and sketches shown along with the many ways Kalman’s work has entered contemporary culture – in books and magazines, and on commercial products, from clothing to watches. Less widely seen works in photography, embroidery, textiles, and performance are also included.

Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor. Many of Kalman’s best-know works are on display in the exhibition, including the iconic covers she has created for The New Yorker magazine; Stay Up Late and Ooh-la-la (Max in Love), and other children’s books she authored and illustrated; drawings from her critically hailed illustrated edition of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, the classic writer’s reference manual; and artwork from her online columns for The New York Times. To provide context for this survey, Kalman has created a special gallery installation to reveal source material she has gathered as collector, walker, traveler, reader, and maker of lists. Furnished with chairs, ladders and “many tables of many things” – such as fezzes, bobby pins, balls of string, things that have fallen out of books, lists, moss – this installation offers a view of how she sees the world, both in and outside the studio.

So, that’s what the press release says. And if I had the words, but I’m tongue-tied around Maira, I’d say it too la-la!

The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan. And listen to my Core 77 interview with Maira here.

(See yesterday’s Nightly Heller on Gary Baseman here.)

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