During Homecoming in October, Professors Scott Hummel, William Jeffers, Robert Mattison, and Art Galleries and Collections Director Michiko Okaya, along with students and alumni of the Arts and Engineering, constructed a Geodesic Dome art instillation on the Quad in conjunction with the Buckminster Fuller art exhibit that was in the Williams Art Gallery. The dome measured 17 feet high and 40 feet in diameter.
The Williams Center Gallery Exhibit Buckminster Fuller: Architect, Engineer, Inventor, Artist, features Fuller’s most important inventions and cultural contributions. It is an exhibition of prints, sculpture, 21-foot catamaran, video, and archival documents.
Fuller (1895-1983) was one of the most influential thinkers of our time. He re-imagined the world as we know it, from the houses we live in to the cars we drive. Although he is probably most associated with the invention of the architecturally iconic geodesic dome, his ability to think across disciplines—connecting the worlds of science, engineering, architecture, environmental design and art—was an equally important and lasting contribution. Concerned about economic sustainability, he integrated energy and material efficiency in his designs.
In the summers of 1948 and 1949, Fuller taught at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Here he met John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg and other artists and writers who would influence his thinking and who he would in turn influence greatly.
The exhibition centered on the Inventions print portfolio—a collection of Fuller’s key patents such as the 4D House, the Dymaxion Car and the Geodesic Dome. Also included in the exhibition were the Dymaxion Air Ocean World Map, Fuller’s radical reimagining of the way we draw the map of the world; extensive archival material, including documentary films; Fuller’s Rowing Needle, a 21-foot catamaran with twin hulls which Fuller designed for use in the choppy waters off the island where he lived in Maine; Closest Packing of Spheres, 1980; and the spectacular Duo-Tet Star Polyhedras, 1980.
Fuller was the architect for the U.S. Pavilion, a geodesic dome, at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition–Expo 67–in Montreal. In 1995 the dome was turned into an interactive museum as the Biosphère, dedicated to environmental issues.
The work in this exhibition was on loan from Carl Solway, Cincinnati, Ohio, who worked with Fuller to realize many of his projects and who generously assisted in organizing this show.