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AVANT-GARDE IN THE CORNFIELDS launch event at the Meier Atheneum with Ben Nicholson and Michelangelo Sabatino

When Oct 11, 2019
from 02:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Historic New Harmony Atheneum, 401 Arthur St., New Harmony, IN 47631
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Avant-Garde in the Cornfields (Ben Nicholson & Michelangelo Sabatino)Ben Nicholson and Michelangelo Sabatino will be at the Meier Atheneum on Friday, October 11 at 2:00 p.m. for the launch of their new book, Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony, during the 40th Anniversary celebration of the the Meier Atheneum. For more information on the celebration and the schedule of speakers, click here.


This book presents an in-depth study of New Harmony, Indiana, a unique town in the American Midwest renowned as the site of two successive Utopian settlements during the nineteenth century: the Harmonists and the Owenites. An important reappraisal of postwar American architecture from a rural perspective, it provides provocative ideas about how history is interpreted through design and historic preservation.


"New Harmony has long been the American Eden that almost was—a place of learning, spirituality, and experimental architecture lost somewhere south of Indianapolis. This eclectic and sweeping volume brings its many lives, from utopian outpost on the frontier to center for contemplation and tourist site anchored by great works of modern architecture, to life. The equally diverse figures who animated the place, from the English industrialist Robert Owen to his distant heir Jane Blaffer Owen, and including architects Philip Johnson and Richard Meier, each receives a careful historic and formal analysis in this masterful collection of essays." —Aaron Betsky, president, School of Architecture at Taliesin


"A detour to the rural heartland can alter many presumptions about American modern culture. Reformers included Robert Owen, who bought the communitarian settlement of New Harmony, Indiana, in 1825, espousing equal rights for workers, women, and former slaves. This book looks closely at New Harmony in the post-WWII era, when historic preservation and environmentalism held sway, while protean architects like Philip Johnson and Richard Meier collaborated with their visionary client, Jane Blaffer Owen. Readers too will look at American modernism from a radically new perspective." —Gwendolyn Wright, Columbia University


"Three visionaries created New Harmony, and their visions could hardly be more different. Ben Nicholson and Michelangelo Sabatino, with their splendidly comprehensive study of Jane Blaffer Owen, the most elusive of the three, have completed the story of one of America’s most consequential experiments in town-building." —Michael Lewis, Williams College