Glass House Presents

Sacred Spaces in Modern New Harmony

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Join authors Cammie McAtee, Benjamin Nicholson, and Michelangelo Sabatino for a virtual talk examining architecture, landscape, and preservation in twentieth-century 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” thanks to the leadership and patronage of Jane Blaffer Owen and attracted a wide variety of outstanding artists, architects, and landscape architects including Philip Johnson, Frederick Kiesler, Richard Meier, Robert Zion, and several others. The focus of this talk’s presentation is the sacred spaces designed by Johnson and Kiesler.

This talk celebrates the recent publication of Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony. Get 40% off when you order using code MN88870. Promotion expires June 1, 2022.

Co-presented by Historic New Harmony — University of Southern Indiana 

Cammie McAtee is a Montreal-based architecture and design historian and curator. She holds a PhD in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University. She was for many years a curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, where she was the lead researcher and assistant curator for the 2001 CCA-Whitney Museum exhibition Mies in America. Her publications include The Politics of Furniture: Identity, Diplomacy and Persuasion in Post-War Interiors (co-editor with Fredie Floré; 2017) and Montreal’s Geodesic Dreams: Jeffrey Lindsay and the Fuller Research Foundation Canadian Division (2017), the latter which accompanied an exhibition she curated at the Centre de design of the Université du Québec à Montréal. More recently, she was the lead researcher and consulting editor for an exhibition and book on the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2018-20). Her current projects include a historical study of the international expansion of the modern furniture company Knoll, and a book on form in postwar American architecture that takes a weekend gathering at the Glass House in 1954 as its starting point.

Benjamin Nicholson was educated at the Architectural Association in London, Cooper Union School of Architecture, and Cranbrook Academy of Art, and is currently Professor Emeritus at SAIC, Chicago. He has been a named guest professor at the Universities of Edinburgh, London, Michigan, Houston and Cornell. Monographs include, Appliance House, Thinking the Unthinkable House and The World: Who Wants It? He contributed to Visionary Architecture, Ineffable Architecture and Educating Architects, and co-edited Utopia in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape & Preservation in New Harmony, for which he wrote chapters on Richard Meier and Frederick Kiesler. He guest-edited the design journal, CLOG x GUNS, on America’s firearm culture. Over his career, he has exhibited at Foundation Cartier, the Renaissance Society, Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Venice Biennale. He lives and works from his base in New Harmony, Indiana.

Michelangelo Sabatino is Director of the Ph.D. Program in Architecture and the inaugural John Vinci Distinguished Research Fellow at the Illinois Institute of Technology. As an educator, academic administrator, and award-winning scholar, Sabatino has contributed to architectural discourse and practice in the Americas and beyond. His book Pride in Modesty: Modernist Architecture and the Vernacular Tradition in Italy (2011) was translated into Italian and won critical acclaim and multiple awards, including the Society of Architectural Historians’ Alice Davis Hitchcock Award. His recent and forthcoming books include Canada: Modern Architectures in History (with Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, 2016), Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony (with Ben Nicholson, 2019), Making Houston Modern: The Life and Architecture of Howard Barnstone (with Barrie Scardino Bradley and Stephen Fox, 2020) and Carlo Mollino: Architect and Storyteller (with Napoleone Ferrari, 2021). Sabatino and his partner live in Riverside, an Olmsted & Vaux designed community, to the west of Chicago and are in the midst of completing the preservation-rehabilitation of their 1930s modern home.

Glass House Presents is an ongoing series of talks, performances, and other live events that extend the site’s historic role as a gathering place for artists, architects, and other creative minds. This event is co-hosted by New Canaan Library and supported in part by Connecticut Humanities and the New Canaan Community Foundation.