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University of Iowa News Release


March 16, 2007

UI Professor Will Speak On 'Trouble In Eden' March 29 At Museum Of Art

Nick Yablon from the University of Iowa Department of American Studies will lecture on the topic "Trouble in Eden: Fantasies of Ruin on the American Urban Frontier, 1825-37" at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in the UI Museum of Art (UIMA).

His lecture will explore the accounts of early 19th-century travelers who claimed to discern an object thought to be absent from the Edenic landscapes of the United States: the ruin. These travelers attributed these emblems of decay --- tree stumps that resembled broken classical columns, or abandoned town-sites that evoked the lost cities of antiquity -- to the very processes of urban and economic growth.

"However much they resonated with classical precedents, these 'day-old' American ruins prompted new speculations about the patterns and predictability of historical time and national destiny," Yablon said.

Yablon is a faculty member of the Department of American Studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His talk is a collaboration of International Programs, Interdisciplinary 18th- and 19th-Century Colloquium and the UIMA. His research interests include 19th- and 20th-century American cultural, social, political and intellectual history, as well as urbanism, architecture and the built environment, and the experiential impact of modern urbanization.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented in conjunction with the UIMA exhibition "Picturing Eden," on display at the museum through May 18.

"Picturing Eden" is an exhibition of more than 130 contemporary photographs in color and black and white that explores how artists reinterpret and re-envision concepts of paradise.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846; Writer: Emily Grosvenor

PHOTOS from the exhibition "Picturing Eden" are available at