Buckminster Fuller at the Whitney
Buckminster Fuller was an inventor, a visionary, and above all an eccentric. Fuller invented many fantastic things and most of them were totally impossible, but also awesome and patentable. His triumph was the geodesic dome, of which “Spaceship Earth” (a term Fuller coined) at Epcot is based on. I recently went to see a comprehensive exhibit on ol’ Bucky at the Whitney in Manhattan.
As a choice of subject for a modern and contemporary American art museum, Fuller is perfect. Fuller came from a wealthy New England family but never finished college. Instead, he began prolifically inventing in what he called “4D” and later “Dymaxion.” Fuller came up with some crazy shit, but some things like the Dymaxion Map (pictured folded together above) seem genius to me.
The exhibit gushes on Fuller’s tremendous innovation, but a concurrent New Yorker article by Elizabeth Kolbert is more quick to criticize. It seems that while Fuller’s inspiration is immeasurable, his track record is not that impressive. Geodesic domes have even been known to leak. However, I have a hard time caring. Fuller is a fountain of sci-fi inspiration and was known to have a pop culture knack. Placed at the beginning of the exhibit is a chart Fuller made of his own accomplishments. He charts them against major political events as well as popular dances throughout the twentieth century. Dude knew what was up.
Photo courtesy of flickr user super-structure.