Maira Kalman

Visual Artist

Maira Kalman has written and illustrated eighteen children’s books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in Love, What Pete Ate, Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, 13 WORDS, a collaboration with Lemony Snicket, Why We Broke Up, with Daniel Handler, Looking at Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything. She is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker Magazine, and is well known for her collaboration with Rick Meyerowitz on the “New Yorkistan” cover in 2001 and “The New York City Sub-Culinary Map.” Maira is currently creating an illustrated column for The New Yorker based on travels to museums and libraries. Her recent projects include illustrating Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style and two monthly online columns for the New York Times. The first, The Principles of Uncertainty (2006-07), was a narrative journal of her life. The second, And The Pursuit of Happiness (2009) was a year long exploration of American History and democracy. Both columns are now collected in book form, published by the Penguin Press.

She has had eight exhibitions at the Julie Saul Gallery since 2003. In 2010, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia organized a retrospective of Kalman’s work entitled Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World). The show traveled to the Contemporary Jewish Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, CA), and the Jewish Museum in NYC, where it remained until July 31, 2011. In the autumn of 2011, Maira was a resident at the American Academy in Rome.She has collaborated with Michael Pollan to illustrate his acclaimed Food Rules, and published Girls on Lawns, with text by Daniel Handler. It is the first of five books she will be doing with the photography department of the Museum of Modern Art. The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum will publish two books by Maira in connection with an exhibition she has curated, Maira Kalman: My Favorite Things. One for children, Ag-Ha to Zig-Zag, and one for adults, called My Favorite Things. Future book projects include a book about dogs, and an illustrated edition of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. She has given two TED Talks.