The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family’s Progress
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn
7pm Friday-11pm Sunday
Triple Canopy is pleased to present its second annual marathon reading of Gertrude Stein’s enormously long and allegedly unreadable novel The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family’s Progress. Over one weekend, an invited list of New York–based artists, writers, publishers, scholars, and other collaborators will gather in Greenpoint to perform the entirety of Stein’s text in a continuous read-in, expected to last 52 hours, more or less. There will be coffee and donuts during the dawn walk-in hours; borscht and booze at dinnertime; and champagne toasts.
Gertrude Stein and The Making of Americans have been central to conversations between literature, art, and publishing for more than a century; and those histories and connections are, in turn, central to Triple Canopy’s publishing and programming in Greenpoint, online, and elsewhere. Stein composed The Making of Americans from 1903 to 1911, though it remained unpublished until 1925, in an edition of 500. The novel wasn’t reprinted in full until 1966, by Fluxus artist and poet Dick Higgins’s Something Else Press (New York), making the book available to a new generation of writers and artists. From 1974 to 2000, Paula Cooper Gallery hosted marathon readings of The Making of Americans around New Year’s Eve, including Higgins, Alison Knowles, and John Cage, among many others. Triple Canopy’s read-in revives and updates that tradition, marking the continuing, branching (if largely subliminal) course of Stein’s book through our culture.