Just when you thought there wasn't a thing left on Amazon that you needed to buy . . . along comes a new book courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania:
The book was published in conjunction with a new exhibit of her art and her personal stuff (or what she calls "many tables of many things") and is a fascinating retrospective accompanied by essays from a variety of scholars about different aspects of her work.
Sunny Day at Park, 2004, Maira Kalman
One of the essays I loved was accompanied by more pictures of her embroidery than I had previously seen.
Goethe: An Embroidery in Four Parts (parts 1 & 2), 2005, Maira Kalman
Maira does embroideries on vintage and found linens of all kinds,
Pink Dress, 2005, Maira Kalman
and is an appreciator of the domestic needlework tradition as well as a collector.
Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk, 2005, Maira Kalman
She explains, "I collect white fabric from around the world, and spend many happy hours ironing and folding and looking at these things."
Which brings me to the part that filled me with delight from top to bottom:
"One afternoon during her first exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York, visitors were invited to stop by and 'have a button sewn on any article of clothing.' In the background, there was ironing."
NOW THAT IS SOMETHING I HAD NOT CONSIDERED . . .
Of course I love old buttons, yet I had never thought of their re-attachment, nor of ironing, as art-gallery-ART (although I have personally raised not-ironing to an art form).
The quirkiness of the scene described made me wish I'd:
a) thought of it first
b) been cool enough to pull it off
c) ever had a show at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York.
Yet another reason for my continued worship and admiration of all that is Maira Kalman,
Annual Misery Day Parade, 2001, Maira Kalman
and perhaps a reason to reconsider the activities going on my own booth with a fresh eye when I prepare for my next show . . .