June 6–September 1, 2014
Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style
Maira Kalman. Hot day. Book found. Aha! Words cannot express. If only I could. Without a doubt. Goodness. Good. Good. Good. Maira Kalman, 2004. Gouache on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery. © Maira Kalman
Watch artist Maira Kalman paint her title wall for this exhibition.
Maira Kalman. Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in., 2004. Gouache on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery. © Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman Every window, picture, and mirror was smashed., 2004. Gouache on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery
Maira Kalman. Bread and butter was all she served., 2004. Gouache on paper. Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery. © Maira Kalman
This exhibition features paintings on paper by Maira Kalman that were used to illustrate a 2005 republication of the authoritative American English writing style guide The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Kalman’s illustrations whimsically embody the didactic examples of grammar rules and their breakage provided by this essential text for writers. Phrases like “But animals do not comprise (‘embrace’) a zoo—they constitute a zoo” and “None of us is perfect” inspired Kalman’s visual witticisms. Her use of flattened space, strong colors and childlike figures provide an enjoyable lesson in both literary and visual literacy.
Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style was organized by the Frist Art Museum, Nashville.