Maira Kalman: And the Pursuit of Happiness

Maira Kalman is one of my favorite contemporary artists. Her whimsical, curious, tangent-driven thoughts depicted in her illustrations remind me of what goes on in my own head. Back in 2009, Maira wrote an illustrated blog in the New York Times called And The Pursuit of Happiness which chronicles her trip to Washington, DC for Obama’s inauguration and gives a visual crash course in the history of democracy. Here are a couple of excerpts from the blog, which is now also a book which I own and adore:

About Benjamin Franklin…

NYT's And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog

…the Library of Congress…

NYT's And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog

…and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

NYT's And the Pursuit of Happiness Blog

See what I mean?!

I received the book as a Christmas gift shortly after I took my first trip to DC for work, and I literally couldn’t put it down. I forced my mom to read it too, and she loved it as well…I think. Here are a couple of my other favorites books and pieces:

The Elements of Style illustrated by Maira Kalman

Maira illustrated the 2005 edition of the classic The Elements of Style, combining two of my faves–grammar and art. Win!

Cover of the December 10th, 2001 issue of the New Yorker

You might recognize Maira’s  “New Yorkistan” which she completed with Rick Meyerowitz for the The New Yorker in 2001. Fun fact: this was the best-selling New Yorker issue to date.

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman

Last but not least, The Principles of Uncertainty–a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated book that is definitely coffee table-worthy. (Wish it came in a larger size though!)

Last week,  I volunteered at an event at the Seattle Art Museum, which is why I am in a bit of an artsy mood. The Seattle Art Museum, or SAM as it’s known in Seattle, hosts a big event a few times a year to get people involved in the arts–particularly the younger generation. These “ReMix” events are timed around exhibitions at the museum–the November event was focused on the the Picasso exhibit, and this time it was focused on the Nick Cave exhibit.

The ReMix events feature interactive gallery tours, live music, dancing, drinks, hands-on art projects and talks with exhibition artists (obvi not a possibility with Picasso though). I had never heard of these events until recently. I must be living  living under a rock, because it was packed, and boy there was some good people watching. It was definitely a legit place to be on a Friday night, and it made me really proud to live in Seattle.


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