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Maira Kalman + Alex Kalman

Minimalism is Good Karma

Monday, October 29, 2018
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

One night, in the late 1960s, long before the concept of a “carbon footprint,” Maira Kalman’s mother substantially reduced hers.

At age 60, after 38 years of marriage and two children, Sara Kalman left her husband in Tel Aviv, flew to New York City, and settled in a tiny Greenwich Village studio apartment with only a suitcase in her possession. Her commitment to simplicity and clarity extended to her wardrobe: One Friday morning, she decided she would only wear white. This “burst of personal expression” became an opportunity to create order out of chaos and live as her authentic self. In her single closet she kept her carefully curated wardrobe starched, ironed, and neatly folded. It is now a travelling exhibition and a lesson in returning to simplicity.

Sara’s daughter Maira Kalman and grandson Alex Kalman have kept her minimalist aesthetic alive through their own art and design projects. They take the Rubin stage to discuss the impact of Sara’s life on their own work and how a pared-down lifestyle might favorably affect our environment. The Kalmans will be joined by Judith Thurman, a contributor to The New Yorker who poignantly profiled the exhibition Sara Berman’s Closet in her article “A Tribute to Women Who Reinvent Themselves, in Two Wardrobes at the Met.”

This program will be followed by a book signing featuring Sara Berman’s Closet by Maira and Alex Kalman.


About the Speakers

Image by Judith Richland

Maira Kalman is an author and illustrator of more than 28 books for adults and children. A contributor to the New York Times and New Yorker, she is the co-creator with John Heginbotham of a ballet based on her book The Principles of Uncertainty. Represented by the Julie Saul Gallery, she has exhibited her work at museums worldwide. She and her son Alex Kalman have created a memorable tribute to Maira’s mother in Sara Berman’s Closet, a dazzling illustrated memoir inspired by the popular art exhibition of the same name that opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in March 2017. Maira owns a pair of Toscanini’s pants and lives in New York City. This is her second appearance at the Rubin.

Alex Kalman is a designer, creative director, curator, and inventor. He is the owner of What Studio? and the founder of Mmuseumm. His work has been exhibited at museums worldwide. He lives in New York City.

Tickets: $30.00

Book + Tickets: $55.00

Includes a signed copy of Sara Berman’s Closet and preferred seating and pre-program tour


Members receive discounts on all programs.

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