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.

Exhibition gallery

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