Notes From the Field: Maira Kalman

July 1, 2013

By Cheryl Katz

My fascination with the designer-artist-author Maira Kalman started shortly after reading Stay Up Late to my then-toddler daughter Fanny.  We feasted on that book and the many that followed (fourteen to be exact), going back to those wildly clever, slightly absurd, totally wonderful pages again and again.

 

Photo courtesy of Maira Kalman

I followed Kalman like preteens follow Justin Bieber, as giddy when her work appeared in print as any under-thirteen-year-old. Kalman captured the spirit of the moment as well as any pop star.

New York Times Style Section, October 5, 2000

I followed Kalman’s New York Times online columns, Principles of Uncertainty and The Pursuit of Happiness, slavishly and am never without a desk copy of her illustrated The Elements of Style. I’ve been to the Julie Saul Gallery where her work is often shown. And at the Jewish Museum in New York I saw a mid-career survey aptly entitled“Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) where the walls were lined with original art, a room was filled with the things that inspire her, and everywhere there was a sense of her exuberant spirit.

Photo courtesy of Maira Kalman

While leafing through a magazine a few weeks ago, I came across a conversation between  Kalman and her friend and longtime neighbor, the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. It focused on Kalman’s apartment.

At one point, Mizrahi asks, “ You said that you fell in love with this apartment at first sight. Why?” To which Kalman responds, ….” some places make you feel good: this is home. “

Kalman’s work is like coming home, it makes you feel that good. And the apartment she’s referring to? It’s in move in condition.

Photo by Thomas Loof, New York Magazine