Terrific Tidbit Number Three.

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."


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 . . .




Karen S said...

That is such fun artwork -- thanks for bringing it to my attention.

And the ironing... I am old enough to remember having a mother who ironed all my dad's shirts. One day every week, she would take the frozen shirts (she kept them in bags in the freezer, not sure why) and with the TV tuned to "Password," would iron. It was unique, because my mother never watched TV during the day otherwise.

susan m hinckley said...

My mother ironed my dad's shirts as well. I think I know why your mother kept them in the freezer. Because first they would "dampen" them (my mother would do this by sprinkling them with water by hand) then roll the shirts up and pile them in a plastic-lined laundry basket until she was ready to iron. I would imagine if you didn't get to the shirts soon enough after they had been dampened, they would mildew, so the freezer would be a perfect solution. Ironing was quite an art, as I think about it.

Karen S said...

I think you're right about the freezer storage -- my mom had a little squirt bottle she used. I remember her teaching me the "proper" way to iron a man's shirt (so I would be able to get a husband, no doubt). When I got married, my husband told me he really liked that crisp ironed look for his shirts and I told him he would just have to earn enough money to send them out!

I iron my fabric as I use it -- if you iron it and then add it to the stash, you just have to iron it again when you use it. What a waste of time.

luanne said...

Another variation: my mother would sprinkle my dad's shirts with water from her special sprinkler-head bottle, then roll them up, put them in a special plastic bag and refrigerate them to be ironed another day.

Maira's genius "Annual Misery Day Parade" reminded me so much of my favorite cartoonist, Roz Chast. Maybe I'll have to do a post about her, seems like she and Maira might have a lot in common. Except I suspect Roz would be too worried about handling a needle (dangerous!) to sew anything herself...

susan m hinckley said...

I don't know Roz Chast but I obviously should -- "Annual Misery Day Parade" is one of my favorite illustrations ever. I'm afraid it suits my personality a little too well!

Allie said...

Ok - the misery day parade is an AWESOME idea - I'll join, lol!!! That's my favorite, right there.

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