I am counting down the days until July 1st, when the “Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World)” touring exhibit opens at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum.  I grew up reading and re-reading Maira Kalman‘s children books, especially Hey Willy, See the Pyramids and Stay Up Late. Now, in my adult life (if I can admit to myself that I am an adult), I am just as fervent an admirer of her work as I was at age four.   Kalman is a brilliant observer and artist, a real inspiration.

If you happen to be in San Francisco, do visit her upcoming exhibit.  And if not, at least visit her website and her NY Times blog, “And the Pursuit of Happiness.”   Here’s Kalman’s portrait of herself and her dog Pete:


While out for a long walk in Manhattan last week, I came across an incredible art installation entitled “Walking Men Worldwide.”  Artist Maya Barkai collected images of 99 walking men from cities around the world and covered the walls surrounding a construction site with their life-size images.  I like to imagine all 99 of those figures coming to life and exploring New York with me!  The installation will remain at 99 Church Street until January 2010.

I was literally laughing out loud yesterday when I looked around the “Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photo-Collage” exhibit at the Met. The exhibit features a collection of aristocratic Victorian women’s collages, made by combining detailed watercolor drawings with photographs. The pieces are beautiful, quirky, and absurd. The exhibit runs at the Met until May 9th, 2010, and then moves on to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Don’t miss it!  Here is a page dated to the 1870s from the Madame B Album by Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier:

I have never been one to excessively “Ooh!” and “Aah!” over flowers, but when I went to The Orchid Show: Cuba in Flowers at the New York Botanical Gardens this weekend, I was amazed!  Imagine a tropical Cuban countryside transported into a greenhouse in the Bronx.  Everything was so vibrant.  If you happen to be in New York sometime before the show closes on April 11th, consider checking it out.  This photo doesn’t do the flowers justice.

Found via a Tumblr follower, who linked to DesignBoom.  I can’t wait to get back to Manhattan later this week and check out the Guggenheim’s new exhibit, Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum.  The exhibit, which runs until April 28th, celebrates the museum’s 50th anniversary by featuring various designers’ ideas for addressing the void of the Guggenheim’s rotunda.  I love this proposal, “Experiencing the Void,” by JDS Architects.  The orange reminds me a bit of another incredible New York installation piece, The Gates.

Speaking of street art, today’s New York Times features an article about artists setting up temporary galleries (“pop-up galleries”) in empty commercial spaces:

“As the recession drags on and storefronts across New York remain empty, commercial landlords are turning to an unlikely new class of tenants: artists, who in flusher times tend to get pushed out rather than lured in. … On terms that are cut-rate and usually temporary — a few weeks or months — the artist gets a gallery or studio, and the landlord gets a vibrant attraction that may deter crime and draw the next wave of paying tenants.”

Read the rest of the article here.