Just finished #rockthedrop all over Spring, Texas!
MoMA has begun a series of collaborative books with Girls Standing on Lawns. Author Daniel Handler and author/illustrator Maira Kalman searched through MoMA’s extensive collection of photography archives and compiled a group of photographs, most by unknown photographers, and have compiled them in this slim but thought-provoking volume. The photographs are interspersed with original paintings by Kalman and text by Handler that leave readers to ponder one of life’s most common and innocuous acts, photographing a woman standing on a lawn. All of this is accomplished in a mere 40 sentences.
“We want to stand where we are standing. We want to, or we wouldn’t be standing there.”
It is no secret that there are stories hidden within each photograph and part of the wisdom of this book is to avoid writing text that dictates what readers should be pulling from the photographs. Instead the text encourages readers to dig into the innumerable possibilities of the lives and thoughts of the women featured in the photographs as well as the motive and intention of the person snapping the pictures.
“None of this is there, not anymore. And yet we are still standing.”
The book concludes with author and publisher notes which help readers to understand the intent and import of the project. Included in the notes is the definition of the kind of photography used in the volume; vernacular photography.
This book would make a fabulous tool for writing teachers to encourage students to create fictional tales of the women featured. It could be used in a photography or art class as an example of how art can be compiled to tell another story by the way that it is combined. It could be used to study the history of American fashion, trends and photography from 1910-1950. In short, this book is a lovely, thoughtful and brief read that has the potential of opening one’s eyes to seeing the mundane in a new, more beautiful light.
View my 43 latest photos on Flickr: http://flic.kr/u/8ybKe/aHsjWJwyGn
Friend, writer (look for her book The Truth About Alice), chill in’ post #txla14 @jenmathieu (at Menger Hotel)
Travis Coates’ life is no different than the life of any other 16 year old boy; except that he is dying and has to decide if he’ll agree to a surgery in which his head is cut off and cryogenicly frozen until some unknown date when it might be reattached to a stranger’s body and he will be brought back to life.
Author John Corey Whaley does a remarkable job balancing the regular angst and confusion of a sixteen year old while having the reader tackle the larger problems that are right in front of Travis that he can’t quite see. When Travis’ head is attached to a body and he is given new life he struggles not only from being an instant celebrity, but also because his family and friends are now five years older than they were when he “died.” There are new relationships and broken ones. There are lies and lifestyle changes that they’ve accepted and he can’t understand.
Instead of focusing on the entertainment or technological changes that other authors may have used, Whaley focuses on Travis’ changes as an individual. The story never loses focus and encompasses ethical, moral and emotional ideas without being smug or condescending. Whaley has a gift for portraying the pain in familial love — it can hurt to love the wholeness of another person but there is always a beauty to it. Whaley’s writing echoes the style of Sam Shepard and the wit of Kurt Vonnegut with a contemporary nuanced confusion.
Noggin is a substantially successful story which should not be relegated to a strictly YA audience. It will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates thoughtful ideas, tender love and a whole bunch of humor in a book which begs to be shared.
Meet artist Maira Kalman this Saturday! Purchase a signed copy of her new MoMA book Girls Standing on Lawns and snap a picture on a special “lawn.” This event takes place in the museum lobby from 11 am to 12:30 pm.
[Illustration from Girls Standing on Lawns by Maira Kalman. © 2014 Maira Kalman]
Beautiful! Just in time for spring.
From MOMA to TLA! Maira Kalman will be signing her new book on Thomas Jefferson #txla14