Saturday, February 16, 2008

February 14-15, 2008

The Principles of Uncertainty
Maira Kalman
2007 hardcover, library
5 cards

Maira Kalman is fabulous. The word fabulous exists because of people like Maira Kalman. If you've seen the new Elements of Style you know who Maira Kalman is; she painted the wonderful pictures in a fabulous new version of that book. She also wrote/painted/created/thought of this book, The Principles of Uncertainity, a conceptual walk that's also a picture book for those in a reflective and contemplative state of mind. I first saw this book during the holidays but I didn't look at it too much for fear that I would need to have it. The book jacket's inner sleeve confirmed my suspicion but I put the book back before leafing through. Then the library had it. Thank you library! Kalman's paintings are unique undertakings, seemingly simultaneously drawing upon Milton Avery, Francis Alys, Florine Stettheimer and Jenny Holzer's Truisms- completely magical and profound. The index and the appendix are also delights for bibliophiles and collectors, not to mention a map (A MAP!!!) in the back!

It's all fabulous but these pages I found particularly fabulous:
p. 3 dodo
p. 4 Evdaimonia
p. 5 stuffed Pavlov's dog
p.8-9 map her mother drew
p. 20 looking between slurps
p. 26 walking and cities and magnificent chairs
p. 28 "excellent United Pickle tag lying on the sidewalk" (pickles!!)
p. 37 old people and walking (so true)
p. 42 "How are we all so brave as to take step after dtep? Day after day?"
p. 46 we are all going to die
p. 47 fruit platters
p. 50 obituaries "Maybe it is a way of trying to figure out, before the day begins, what is important. And I am curious about the things that make up a life."
p. 52 (fabulous painting of a donut shop)
p. 55 bundt pan
p. 56-57 Tolstoy and Gorky
p. 65 Alzheimer's
p. 83 "The world is coming to an end. What to do Spend the day on the subway."
p. 97 string
p. 99 "How do you know who you are?"
p. 102 collections "...tangible evidence of history, memory. Longing, delight."
p. 111 Abe Lincoln
p. 122-23 candy collection (I had one of these when I was younger)
p. 124 "It is well known how much Goethe loved candy."
p. 162 "The silent sink in the Corbusier house that speaks the truth." (Tim would like this.)
p. 163 "The ottoman on the way to the Proust room."
p. 164-65 Proust notebook
p. 166 museum guard
p. 176 Sabine- "clothes and shoes she made herself." "She tells me to read "Butterball" by Maupassant. I will."
p. 184-85 Louise Bourgeois
p. 186 "I think of her Bed Construction that says, 'Art is the guarantee of sanity.' I really hope that's true."
p. 192 "Washing dishes is the antidote to confusion. I know that for a fact."
p. 194 Alzheimer's, Sweet 'n Low packets
p. 195 Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest "That is a very big poin in the plus column of life."
p. 208-211
p. 236-38
p. 242 "How do you go mad? How do you not go mad?"
p. 245 "The truth is everybody gets on everybody's nerves."
p. 251 Freud and Wittgenstein
p. 252-53
p. 259 "Berlin Childhood around 1900" by Walter Benjamin
p. 261 Helen Levitt
p. 270 "One thing leads to another."
p. 284-85 Cartier-BResson photo
p. 287 "You cannot order a Deluxe grilled cheese sandwich. There are limits to deluxe."
p. 296-97 "Keep calm and carry on"
Fabulous index
Fabulous appendix- especially: things that fall out of books, packets, postcards

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