Tuesday, 7:30 pm EDT November 17, 2020
In a season filled with political rancor, we welcome humor and an artist’s sensibilities to bring in new perspectives. David Leavitt will talk about his new comedic work—Shelter in Place—with artist and essayist David Salle. Shelter in Place is a prescient title for a novel that uses social satire to explore the aftermath of the 2016 election among a group of wealthy white literary New Yorkers.
David Leavitt’s novels and story collections include Family Dancing (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award), The Lost Language of Cranes, While England Sleeps, Arkansas, The Indian Clerk (finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize and the IMPAC/Dublin Literary Award), and The Two Hotel Francforts. He is also the author of two nonfiction books, Florence, A Delicate Case and The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer. He is co-director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Florida, where he is Professor of English and edits the journal Subtropics.
David Salle helped define the post-modern sensibility by combining figuration with an extremely varied pictorial language. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA Vienna; Menil Collection, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, Bilbao. His paintings are in the collections of many major museums, both here and abroad. Although known primarily as a painter, Salle’s work grows out of a long-standing involvement with performance. Over the last 25 years he has worked extensively with choreographer Karole Armitage, creating sets and costumes for many of her ballets and operas. Their collaborations have been staged at venues throughout Europe and America, including The Metropolitan Opera House; The Paris Opera; Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Opera Deutsche, Berlin. In 1995, Salle directed the feature film Search and Destroy, starring Griffin Dunne and Christopher Walken. Salle is also a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books. His collection of essays How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art was published by W.W. Norton in 2016.
Shelter in Place
By David Leavitt
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
It is the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and in a plush weekend house in Connecticut, a group of New Yorkers has gathered to recover from what they consider the greatest political catastrophe of their lives. Liberal and like-minded, the friends have come to the countryside in the hope of restoring the bubble in which they have grown used to living.
Moving through her days accompanied by a carefully curated salon, Eva Lindquist is a generous hostess with an obsession for decorating. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades her husband to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him to venture outside the bubble and embark on an unexpected love affair.
A slyly comic look at the shelter industry, Shelter in Place is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the insidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations.
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