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Ms M (Maira) Makes a Crazy World

Opening tomorrow (and continuing through June 6) The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania presents Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World), the first major museum survey of the work of Ms. M’s remarkable, delightful, insightful and crazy world of art.

“An illustrator, author and designer, Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and unique sense of humor,” says the ICA. “Like a gift, her work appears to lift the spirits, no matter how ordinary or overwhelming circumstances may be.” And I second the emotion.

This exhibition. which will travel to Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (July 1-October 26, 2010); Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles (November 16, 2010-February 13, 2011); and The Jewish Museum, New York (March 11-July 31, 2011), features a selection spanning thirty years of original works on paper and design production, including her photography, embroidery, textiles, and performance. She has created a special installation furnished with chairs, ladders, and “many tables of many things, including her collection of fezzes, bobby pins, balls of string, things that have fallen out of books, lists, and let’s not forget moss. The show reveals her habits as a collector, traveler, reader, and avid walker. Crazy to be sure, but joyfully so.