Friday, July 11, 2008
Buckminster Fuller at the Whitney
on view June 26 - September 21, 2008
One of the great American visionaries of the twentieth century, R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) endeavored to see what he, a single individual, might do to benefit the largest segment of humanity while consuming the minimum of the earth's resources. Doing "more with less" was Fuller's credo. He described himself as a "comprehensive anticipatory design scientist," setting forth to solve the escalating challenges that faced humanity before they became insurmountable.
Fuller's innovative theories and designs addressed fields ranging from architecture, the visual arts, and literature to mathematics, engineering, and sustainability. He refused to treat these diverse spheres as specialized areas of investigation because it inhibited his ability to think intuitively, independently, and, in his words, "comprehensively."
Although Fuller believed in utilizing the latest technology, much of his work developed from his inquiry into "how nature builds." He believed that the tetrahedron was the most fundamental, structurally sound form found in nature; this shape is an essential part of most of his designs, which range in scale from domestic to global. As the many drawings and models in this exhibition attest, Fuller was committed to the physical exploration and visual presentation of his ideas.
The results of more than five decades of Fuller's integrated approach toward the design and technology of housing, transportation, cartography, and communication are displayed here, much of it for the first time. This exhibition offers a fresh look at Fuller's life's work for everyone who shares his sense of urgency about homelessness, poverty, diminishing natural resources, and the future of our planet. - Jennie Goldstein