Nov 27th 2018

Dean Sabatino publishes book on New Harmony, Indiana

IIT Architecture is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication and release of "Avant-Garde in the Cornfields" by Michelangelo Sabatino (Dean, IIT College of Architecture) and Ben Nicholson (Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago).

"Avant-Garde in the Cornfields" is 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. During the Cold War years of the twentieth century, New Harmony became a spiritual “living community” and attracted a wide variety of creative artists and architects who left behind landmarks that are now world famous.

This engrossing and well-documented book explores the architecture, topography, and preservation of New Harmony during both periods and addresses troubling questions about the origin, production, and meaning of the town’s modern structures, landscapes, and gardens. It analyzes how these were preserved, recognizing the funding that has made New Harmony so vital, and details the elaborate ways in which the town remains an ongoing experiment in defining the role of patronage in historic preservation.

An important reappraisal of postwar American architecture from a rural perspective, "Avant-Garde in the Cornfields" presents provocative ideas about how history is interpreted through design and historic preservation—and about how the extraordinary past and present of New Harmony continue to thrive today.

Michelangelo Sabatino is an architect, preservationist, and historian whose research broadly addresses intersections between culture, technology, and design in the built and natural environments. Sabatino earned a Laurea in Architecture at the Università Iuav di Venezia and a doctorate from the Department of Fine Art, University of Toronto, and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of History of Art + Architecture, Harvard University. He is author of "Pride in Modesty: Modernist Architecture and the Vernacular Tradition in Italy", which received the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award.