The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children

November 10, 2019 - July 26, 2020
East Gallery
We’re all striving and we’re all heroic. To me it’s heroic that we get out of bed in the morning.
Maira Kalman

The Pursuit of Everything presents a colorful panorama of Maira Kalman’s picture-book career. Perhaps best known for her quirky New Yorker covers and as a pioneering visual journalist for The New York Times, Kalman has also published 18 acclaimed children’s books. She illustrates the comic adventures of Max Stravinsky, the dog-poet in Max Makes a Million (1990), and the escapades of a gluttonous canine named Pete in What Pete Ate from A-Z (“Really!”) (2001). The exhibition features Kalman’s kaleidoscopic paintings from Next Stop Grand Central (1999) alongside illustrations from her recent publications Beloved Dog (2015) and Cake (2018). Kalman addresses important historical figures and events in Looking at Lincoln (2012), Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote (2018), and the 9/11-inspired Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey (2002). Balancing the ridiculous and the profound, Kalman’s beautifully crafted paintings and witty word play delight audiences of all ages

Curated by Jane Bayard Curley

This exhibition is made possible with generous support from Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books.

What to Expect

This exhibition shares original art and memorabilia, including two short films. Copies of Kalman’s books are available with benches for easy reading. Visitors of all ages can make their own Kalman-inspired art at a table full of supplies. 

Illustration of fancy people sitting in restaurant.
Maira Kalman, Illustration for Next Stop, Grand Central (Penguin Random House). Courtesy of Julie Saul Projects, New York. © 1999 Maira Kalman. 

Explore Further

Story Board
Maira Kalman keeps readers on their toes with a unique style all her own.
News & Press
With an idiosyncratic style all her own, Kalman employs compressed space, unpredictable pacing, and often shocking colors to keep readers on their toes.
Making Art Together
Explore how the set-up and selection of materials can give children the opportunity to explore paint in a self-directed and manageable way.