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Kalman, Maira


KALMAN, MAIRA (1950– ), U.S. author, illustrator, designer. Born in Tel Aviv, Kalman immigrated to New York in 1954. She met her husband, Tibor, at New York University, where both were English students. While nurturing an ambition to write short stories, she helped her husband found M&Co, the quirky design firm. In 1987 she published her first book, Stay Up Late (1987), illustrating David Byrne's lyrics with an array of colorful primitive-looking characters. A year later she published Hey Willy, See the Pyramids (1988), a sarcastic, witty book abounding in non sequiturs and naïve drawings. Her major protagonist, a dog named Max, won children's hearts and book awards. She also wrote and illustrated Chicken Soup, Boots; Next Stop Grand Central (1999), based on murals she created for New York's Grand Central Terminal, and What Pete Ate From AZ (2001), a culinary biography of her mutt Pete. After her husband's death in 1999, she continued their work with (un)Fashion (2000), a book about the way the non-Westernized world attires itself, and Colors (2002), an anthology of his work as editor of that magazine. She has written and illustrated a dozen children's books and runs M&Co as an entrepreneurial producer of paperweights, clocks, and "art" products. She also produced window displays for Sony and clothes mannequins for Pucci. Her book Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey (2002), about the de-commissioned boat that fought fires at the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, reveals a growing interest in fusing real life and art into an entertaining though poignant form of social commentary. Kalman endeared herself to countless readers with her illustration that appeared on the cover of The New Yorker magazine on December 8, 2001. It showed a simple pastel map, a flat, bird's-eye view of New York City drawn in pen and wash with the city's neighborhoods Afghanistanicized: Lubavistan, Kvetchnya, Irate, Feh, Fattushis, Fuhgeddaboutitstan, etc. The map became almost as famous as the one Saul *Steinberg drew for the New Yorker cover of March 29, 1976, showing his View of the World from Ninth Avenue.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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