Monday, May 21, 2012

Jill Krementz covers Maira Kalman & Annik La Farge

Things were jumping at 535 West 25th Street in Chelsea on Thursday night: The Julie Saul Gallery is on the sixth floor and the DIA Program Space is on five. So it was mercifully easy for me to start with Maira Kalman's exhibition and book signing and go one flight down for a party celebrating a new book by Annik La Farge about the High Line.
Maira Kalman
37 Paintings
Julie Saul Gallery
May 10-June 23, 2012

Food Rules is abundantly illustrated by Maira Kalman, and many of her illustrations are on display at Julie Saul Gallery.
Annik La Farge
On The High Line
Exploring America’s Most Original Urban Park
Thames & Hudson

The artist Maira Kalman is equally well known for her work as an illustrator, painter and author.  Known for her books, as well as for magazine work for The New Yorker, she has had exhibitions in many museums around the country. A recent survey show by the Israeli-born artist, curated and originated by the ICA in Philadelphia, finalized its four-city tour in New York last summer at The Jewish Museum.

Julie Saul has been a long time friend and champion of Kalman and on Thursday evening, May 17, Saul hosted an opening reception for her pal.  This is Kalman’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery and, as usual, the space was packed with friends and admirers.

One floor down, at DIA’s Program Space, there was a party to celebrate On The High Line by Annik La Farge.  The lavishly illustrated book (218 pages; $29.95) is published by Thames and Hudson. If you are planning a visit to the High Line you will want to buy this unique guide.
Artist Maira Kalman, on the right, with her daughter Lulu.

Lulu Kalman is the Executive Sous Chef for Danny Meyer's Union Square Events.

Describing her inspiration and working methods, Maira Kalman says:

"In my wanderings there are moments of rapture ... moments of despair ... moments of celebration.

It is a full time job just to sort it all out.
you need to wear friendly shoes and make frequent coffee stops."
In the entrance hall to the gallery there are two paintings by Kalman which appeared on the cover of The New Yorker in March 2012 and 2005 respectively. $18,000 each.

This is the first time the artist has made her New Yorker covers available for sale and serves as an introduction to Julie Saul's next Maira Kalman exhibit (magazine work only) scheduled for fall of 2013.
Pinhole Deluxe, 2011 Carrots in Sink, 2011
Boy with Chard, 2011 Plate of Fish, 2011
Donuts, 2011
View of the Hudson, 2011
Butter on Table, 2011 Aalto Vase with Poppies, 2008
Dr. Perri Klass, a pediatrician and writer, is a Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University.

In addition to her books (non-fiction, novels, short stories, and mysteries), and her extensive writing for the New York Times (including a series of "Hers Columns"), Dr. Klass writes a regular column in Knitter's Magazine. Her knitting essays have been collected in the book Two Sweaters for My Father.

How she accomplishes all this. Who knows? What did we talk about? Klass was all excited because she had just seen the complete Ring cycle at the Met with her husband, an opera fanatic. They are off to the Sante Fe Opera this summer.
Karen Durbin, Elle magazine's film critic. Karen Cattan, a photographer for TimeWarner.
Dr. Perri Klass with Maira Kalman.
Adele Chatfield-Taylor and her husband, playwright John Guare. Chatfield-Taylor is the President and CEO of The American Academy in Rome where Maira Kalman had a residency. Guare's play Are You There, McPhee? is at Princeton's McCarter Theatre.

They reminded me that I had photographed them on their wedding day 31 years ago in May. I hadn't forgotten taking the photograph, but I had not remembered how many years ago it was.
Adele Chatfield-Taylor and John Guare photographed on their wedding day (May 20, 1981) by Jill Krementz.

The couple had come directly from their ceremony to the annual Luncheon & Ceremonial hosted by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Monte Verde Market, 2011 Secchio Per Acqua, 2011
Villa Doria Pamphili, 2011
Porta Portese Flea Marker, 2011 Man in Mask, 2010
Everything's coming up orange! That's Julie Saul color-coordinated with a good portion of the south wall of her gallery.
Man with Bread and Butter, 2011
Rick Meyerowitz is an illustrator and a close friend of the artist. He posed for the portrait behind him. "Maira had me sit at a table with my arms folded as they appear so she could take a photo to use as reference. That's how she can see how the sleeves should look".
Edna Cardinale, Gallery Manager: "Come September, I'll have been working here for
20 years."
Ben Alper is the Assistant Director of the gallery.
Angela Hederman is the publisher of The Little BookRoom. Kalman signed books for those who purchased them and--more often than not--added a drawing to her inscription.
Signed copies of all of Kalman's recent books will be available while they last during the show, which runs through June 23.
One flight down to celebrate Annik La Farge ...
Annik La Farge is a writer and lifelong New Yorker who has been writing about the High Line since it opened in 2009. You can read her blog on

The principal photographers on the book were Rick Drake, Scott Mlyn, and Juan Valentin whose work was projected on the walls throughout the evening.
Veteran editor Ann Godoff, who has her own imprint at Penguin Press. Ms. Godoff and Ms. La Farge are partners which is why Ms. Godoff was at this event rather than upstairs celebrating the opening of Kalman's exhibition.

Godoff has just published (and edited) Food Rules and Eater's Manual, a new edition of Michael Pollan's book, this time around adding a new introduction and 19 additional food rules by Pollan. Interspersed throughout this slim volume are 51 witty and colorful illustrations by Maira Kalman. In 2010 Time magazine named Michael Pollan one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

I purchased both books (one by Pollan/Kalman, and the other by La Farge) with high hopes of improving my eating habits and learning more about the High Line.
Various layouts in Annik La Farge's book including a sequential, botanical tour through the wilderness that has always been at the heart of the High Line.
The book contains a five-panel, color-coded gatefold map.
Hudson Terrace Apartments.
"Rails to trails! Dead tech repurposed — beautiful, and insanely popular. FDR Drive, you're next!" David Byrne, musician artist.
The Hudson Yards.
The Divine Wild Carrot
One of the world's most beautiful weeds is a wonderful patchwork of contradictions. Named for a Queen, the plant known to horticulturists as wild carrot is actually just a distant relative to the humble vegetable.

At the northern end of the High Line park visitors can peer through the openings of the steel gate and behold a magnificent white carpet of this beautiful plant growing wild, as it has done for so many decades, in the abandoned railbed.
Michael Kimmelman, chief architecture critic for the New York Times, with Ann Godoff. Albert La Farge with his sister Annik. Mr. La Farge is getting his PhD from Boston University in the new field of editorial studies.
Exiting the party for Ms. La Farge I met these two 19-year-old FIT students: Daniel Gieseke (from Nevada) and Carter Kidd (from Arkansas), who have recently moved to NYC. They met in the corridor at school between classes and learned they live near one another in the West 20s.

"Every Thursday night we try to go to every gallery in Chelsea and see what our neighborhood has to offer. We love being part of this community."
Down to sidewalk level for an after party for Maira Kalman, hosted by
Julie Saul
This has to be one of the best parties ever given for an artist by her gallerist after an opening. A Rickshaw Dumpling Truck was parked just outside the gallery and invited guests milled around on the sidewalk.

It was a warm spring evening and the dumplings were delicious. I rarely take a break when I'm covering an event. On the other hand, I've never had a handy fender on which to park my dumplings (and chopsticks) while working.

You'll notice that the word Dumpling on the front of the truck is in mirror writing. This is presumably so other drivers in front of the vehicle can make appropriate maneuvers.
Guests were given a playing card to use as a chit when ordering dinner from the dumpling cart. John Guare got two cards -- one for himself and one for his wife.
Party guests lining up.
Menu options. The artist doling out more cards redeemable for dumplings.
Alex Eaton and Alex Kalman. And yes, they both have the same first name. Ms. Eaton is a documentary film maker and runs a political non-profit company called Creative Majority.

Mr. Kalman, Maira's son, heads his own film company, Red Bucket Films. The 26-year-old Kalman launched with his 25-year-old partner Alex Rickard last week. They say to think of it like Google Maps meets YouTube. I say this caption with three Alex's looks like I've lost my marbles, but I haven't.
John Guare and Douglas Gray. Mr. Gray was the Production Manager for Harry Belafonte, Twyla Tharp, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, John Houseman's Acting Company, and several Broadway shows. His company, Gray Matters, produced Assisted Living: The Musical.
Rick Meyerowitz. Dung Ngo, an editor at Rizzoli.
Rob Forbes is the founder of Public Bikes. The bikes are designed for city use. Since bikers often have to carry their gear upstairs, the 3-speeders are made of light-weight steel and easily carried upstairs. Claudia Gould is the Director of The Jewish Museum where an Édouard Vuillard exhibition is currently on view.
Gordon Travers and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Beautyman.

Mr. Travers is chairman of the board at The Mount, Edith Wharton's estate in Lenox, Massachusetts. Dr. Beautyman is a specialist in Internal Medicine and has a subspecialty in Hematology.
Maira Kalman says goodnight to Gordon Travers and Dr. Beautyman.
Vendors Rowie Samaco and Dylan Hess photographed at the end of the party after every last dumpling had been consumed.

Best party ever! If you want to rent out a truck for your next event, call 212-796-6090, ext 4102.
Click here to view Jill Krementz's previous photojournal of Maira Kalman.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.