This week: unorthodox art, theatrical do-overs, Proust, & more.
The Global Age: Europe 1950–2017, by Ian Kershaw (Penguin): Hoping for a brief respite from last week’s revolutionary fervor, amateur historians might find a welcome diversion in Ian Kershaw’s The Global Age, a studied canvassing of European history from 1950–2017. The Global Age represents the final chapter in Penguin’s “History of Europe” series, to which Kershaw also contributed a volume covering the two World Wars (To Hell and Back). In it, Kershaw chronicles the interlinking narratives—political, economic, cultural, and otherwise—that encompass both the vision of peace and stability toward which Europe was thought to be advancing and the globalized, hyper-frenetic landscape that would greet it in the twenty-first century. Weighing a substantial chunk of material in his hands—a span of sixty-seven years and over forty countries—Kershaw fashions a panoramic view that, if nothing else, reminds us of the ever-unclear delineation between current events and history. —RE
A Proust Party: Marcelle Clements, Eric Karpeles, Andre Aciman, Caroline Weber, at McNally Jackson, Brooklyn (July 10): One hundred and forty-eight years ago from this Wednesday, Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was born in his great-uncle’s house in Auteuil—a fairly unremarkable beginning for one who would, a few decades later, leave an irremovable mark on the history of literature. To celebrate Proust’s birthday this week, McNally Jackson Books in Brooklyn will host four Proust scholars who will each discuss a passage from In Search of Lost Time and also share some of the new developments from the world of Proust research. Included in the lineup are the journalist, novelist, and NYU Professor Marcelle Clements, the author and editor of The Proust Project André Aciman, the Barnard Professor of French and Comparative Literature Caroline Weber, and Eric Karpeles, the author of Painting in Proust and the translator of Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp by Józef Czapski (reviewed by Paul Dean in March 2019). Event begins at 7 p.m. in Williamsburg. —RH
“Stephen Maine: Press Play,” at ODETTA (through July 27): When I first saw the mysterious paintings of Stephen Maine, I thought I was looking at halftone photographs blown up in a riot of complementary colors. But, in fact, the images I saw were imaginary. Those halftone dots were really the impressions of carpet nub that had been slathered in paint and stamped onto canvas as mono-prints. Since then, Maine’s printing materials, and the paintings that result, have become even more unexpected and unworldly. Now at ODETTA, “Stephen Maine: Press Play” invites us to wonder over both the images and image-making of these unusual and startling compositions. Artist receptions on July 13 and 27, 3–5 p.m. —JP
“Second Stage Theater: Four Decades of Producing Living American Playwrights,” at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center (through August 17): Founded in 1979 to put on “second stagings” of abandoned or forgotten plays by living American playwrights, the Second Stage Theater began in humble circumstances—the sixteenth floor of an Upper West Side hotel—but has since become an institution. Now located in three venues across Manhattan, the company has been crucial to the development of countless young actors and writers. An exhibition now on at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, located at Forty Lincoln Center Plaza, celebrates forty years of 2ST. —AS
“‘Perfection is One Thing’: Chatsworth and the Art of Capability Brown,” with John Phibbs at Sotheby’s (July 11): John Phibbs, the eminent scholar of Capability Brown, that doyen of eighteenth-century English landscape gardeners, has said that Brown’s works are “so widely varied in technique and character that it is hard to believe that they could spring from the same hand.” And yet Chatsworth, where Brown began work for the Fourth Duke of Devonshire in the late 1750s, displays some of the landscape elements that we most associate with Brown: trees in clumps, a long and scenic drive, and a man-made lake designed to look as if it had been there forever. Phibbs will expand on Brown’s work at Chatsworth this Thursday in a lecture at Sotheby’s in connection with their “Treasures from Chatsworth” exhibition. For more on Brown, see Nicola Shulman’s October 2016 piece, “The genius of the place.”—BR
From the archive: “Marked men, numbered days: French ‘collabo’ writers,” by Jim Tuck (June 1996). On the various ends of pro-Vichy authors in France.
From the current issue: “Barry’s house and the Burkean sublime,” by George Green (Poetry).