Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) is the first major museum survey of the work of Maira Kalman. An illustrator, author and designer, Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and unique sense of humor. Like a gift, her work appears to lift the spirits, no matter how ordinary or overwhelming circumstances may be. This exhibition features a selection of original works on paper and design production that spans thirty years, along with less widely seen aspects of Kalman’s work in photography, embroidery, textiles, and performance. As a context for this survey, Kalman is creating a special installation. The space will be 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, and moss. Expressive of Kalman’s habits as a collector, traveler, reader, and avid walker, this installation offers a view of how she sees the world, both in and outside of the studio.
Following its premiere at ICA, the exhibition travelled to the 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).