Maira Kalman's wise, witty drawings have appeared on numberless New Yorker covers, in a dozen children's books, and throughout the pages of the Elements of Style. Her latest book, The Principles of Uncertainty, is the result of a year-long illustrated blog she kept for the New York Times.
Children know Maira Kalman for her series of Max storybooks, adults for her New Yorker covers and the gotta-have-it illustrated version of the Elements of Style -- simple proof that her sensibility blends a childlike delight with a grownup's wry take on the world.
With her husband, the legendary designer and art director Tibor Kalman, Maira spent several decades designing objets and assembling books like (un)FASHION. But after Tibor's untimely death in 1999, Maira herself became a cultural force. Her colorful, faux-naif illustrations -- and her very perspective -- tap a desire in all of us to look at the world the way she does.
Her latest book, The Principles of Uncertainty, is perhaps the most complete expression of Maira's worldview. Based on a monthly blog she kept for the New York Times website for one year, it is filled with carefully observed moments and briskly captured thoughts, an omnivore's view of life in the modern world.
“How do we actually know that these sentences coming out of our mouths are real stories, are real sentences?”
“I don’t like plots. I don’t know what a plot means. I can’t stand the idea of anything that starts in the beginning — you know, ‘beginning, middle and end.’”
“I happen to be alive, end of discussion.”
“I said, ‘Well, how much space do I have?’ And they said, ‘Well, you know, it’s the Internet.’”