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.


Watch these videos to learn more about the artist

Maira Kalman's Ted Talk from 2007

 

Maira Kalman at TEDxMet on October 19, 2013


Maira Kalman: The Elements of Style is organized by the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville.


Location: Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery

MNAC

Supported in part by

TAC

Supported in part by

NEA Artworks

Supported in part by

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