Nancy Newhall, Buckminster Fuller, 1948/1990; gelatin silver print; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Estate of Nancy Newhall; photo: courtesy SFMOMA.

Buckminster Fuller, 4D House, United States Patent Office no. 1,793, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print on Lenox paper; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

Buckminster Fuller, Laminar Geodesic Dome, United States Patent Office no. 3,203,144, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

The Bay Area's Utopian Impulses, Buckminster Fuller's Design Legacy

Buckminster Fuller, Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map, 1981; screen print; 50 in. x 72"; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Elizabeth and Carl Solway in memory of Robert Fillmore Lovett, Jr.; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

Olivo Barbieri, site specific_ MONTREAL 04 [Buckminster Fuller Dome], chromogenic print, 2004; 121.92 x 152.4 cm; Collection SFMOMA, purchase through a gift of Barry R. Campbell, Toronto, Canada, and the Accessions Committee Fund; © Olivo Barbieri; photo: Ben Blackwell.

Buckminster Fuller, Motor Vehicle-Dymaxion Car, United States Patent Office no. 2,101,057, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

Buckminster Fuller, Non-Symetrical Tension-Integrity Structures, United States Patent Office no. 3,866,366, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

Buckminster Fuller, Undersea Island-Sumbarisle, United States Patent Office no. 3,080,583,from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print on Lenox paper; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco
Utopian Impulse:
Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area

March 31-July 29, 2012

The Bay Area attracts dreamers, progressives, nonconformists, and designers. Buckminster Fuller was all of these, and though he never lived in San Francisco, his ideas spawned many local experiments in the realms of technology, engineering, and sustainability — some more successful than others. The Whole Earth Catalog, Apple, The North Face, and Governor Jerry Brown have all cited Fuller as a key influence on several projects.

The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area is the first exhibition to consider Fuller's local design legacy. The presentation features some 65 works, including prints, drawings, photographs, documentary video, books, models, and ephemera representing some of Fuller's most iconic projects alongside those by Bay Area designers inspired by his oeuvre.

"Late in his life Fuller selected 13 design projects for which he obtained U.S. patents and featured them in a portfolio called Inventions: Twelve Around One, to be marketed to art collectors," notes SFMOMA Acting Department Head/ Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, who organized the presentation. "The images represent an earnest revolutionary effort on Fuller's part that did not succeed in the way he would have liked in his time, but today stands as a totem for nonconformist thinking. This exhibition attempts to capture the wonderful eccentricity inherent in Fuller's views and to celebrate him as a visionary."

The Utopian Impulse opens by introducing Fuller, primarily with prints from the Inventions: Twelve Around One portfolio (1981), as well as several key works on loan from the R. Buckminster Fuller Archive at Stanford University. Pairing the artist's own drawings of projects dating from the late 1920s through the mid-1970s with iconic imagery of built work, the portfolio commemorates his most well-known ideas, such as the 4D House (1928), a hexagonal autonomous dwelling meant to be optimally resource efficient and mass producible from factory-made kits that could be easily shipped anywhere and quickly assembled on site. Extending this optimization to transportation, Fuller's ultra-light three-wheeled Dymaxion Car (1933) featured unprecedented fuel efficiency and an aerodynamic, teardrop shape, which was determined in collaboration with his friend, designer Isamu Noguchi. While these projects held promise in efficiency in the name of societal good, each was rife with design problems that proved too difficult to solve.

The exhibition also presents several of Fuller's big-picture ideas, including his World Game (1969-71) project, a data-visualization system intended to facilitate global approaches in solving the world's problems—or, in Fuller's own words, to "make the world work, for 100 percent of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

The other half of the presentation looks at Bay Area endeavors inspired by Fuller's thinking, particularly those that employ his approach of commingling technology, ecology, and social responsibility to improve living systems. Fuller's conceptions of simple, mobile dwellings are amplified in the temporary inflatable structures by the Bay Area architecture collective Ant Farm and improved in the tent design by Bob Gillis for The North Face, as well as for Gillis's own company, Shelter Systems. Gillis learned about Fuller's concept of "tensegrity" at the University of Southern Illinois. A made-up word intended to mean tension plus integrity, it opened up so many possibilities for tent redesign that Gillis, who lived in tents exclusively for almost 20 years, is now credited with changing contemporary tent design.

Nodding to Fuller as a kindred spirit in large-scale change through storytelling and performative marketing, environmental activist David de Rothschild designed the Plastiki sailboat — a catamaran made entirely of recycled materials and kept afloat by some 12,500 plastic water bottles — and sailed it from San Francisco to Australia in 2010 as an awareness campaign for less waste and more recycling. Fuller's notion of social betterment through greater access to information weaves through projects including Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog (1968 – 1972), which attempted to list all things needed for a self-sustainable lifestyle; and architect Nicholas de Monchaux's Local Code initiative, which uses geospatial analysis to collect real-time data on health, environmental, and crime activities in San Francisco's publicly owned unused spaces and then proposes temporary solutions for dire conditions.

As a commission for this presentation, San Francisco–based documentary filmmaker Sam Green creates three short documentaries on projects related to Fuller and the Bay Area, such as Pacific High School (1969), a dome-building project meant to house 60 students and teachers at an "alternative" high school in the Santa Cruz mountains; Fuller's well-known address to the hippies in Golden Gate Park; and his self-curated archive the Dymaxion Chronofile. Green's work is presented in a special dome designed by Obscura Digital, a local firm that creates custom installations for media presentations. Green also performs a live version of his project at SFMOMA in conjunction with the San Francisco Film Society's International Film Festival.

While some projects reference Fuller directly, others, like Morphosis's design for San Francisco's Federal Building, have a more distant relationship to Fuller while still maintaining his ethos of "comprehensive design," which advocates for anticipatory design informed by intelligence from several sectors for greater good.

Fuller strove for the Fordist dream of improving society through mass production, which inherently conflicted with his "more with less" philosophy promoting self-reliance, sustainability, and low ecological impact. Perhaps overambitious about his abilities to bypass business and societal norms, ultimately Fuller was not able to earn both financial and critical success for his designs, so he lectured tirelessly around the globe to survive.

"While his appeal to the government and to the counterculture movement was broad, he still never quite fit in," says Fletcher. "Perhaps it was frustrating for him or maybe it was a calculated elusiveness. Either way, the view of Fuller as an outsider has emerged as an emblem for 'thinking differently,' which is a starting point for many Bay Area initiatives."


Buckminster Fuller, Building Construction/Geodesic Dome, United States Patent Office no. 2,682,235, from the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981; screen print in white ink on clear polyester film; 76.2 cm x 101.6 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; © The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; image courtesy SFMOMA.

Yves Béhar/fuseproject, One Laptop Per Child XO Laptop, 2007; plastic; 3.81 x 22.86 x 24.13 cm; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Yves Béhar/fuse project; © Yves Béhar; photo: courtesy SFMOMA.

Dymaxion Car © Gregory Gibbons.

Bucky Fuller's Autodidactic Explorations of Multi- and Cross-Disciplines

R. Buckminster Fuller, US Pavillion für die Weltausstellung in Montreal, 1967, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Buckminster Fuller and Norman Foster © Ken Kirkwood.

Sketch by Buckminster Fuller of his 4D Auto-Airplane, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

R. Buckminster Fuller with the Skybreak Dome, 1949, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

The Dymaxion Car in front of the Swiss Re Tower in London © Gregory Gibbons.

The Wichita House, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

The Dymaxion Car promoting the campaign “All Out Aid to Great Britain and the Allies”, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.


Marta Herford
Goebenstraße 4-10
+ 49(0)52 21-99 44 30-0
Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth
June 11-September 18, 2011

Born in 1895 into a distinguished family of Massachusetts, which included his great aunt Margaret Fuller, a feminist and writer linked with transcendentalist circles of Emerson and Thoreau, Richard Buckminster Fuller Jr. left Harvard University, where the Fuller men had studied since 1740, to become an autodidact and earn a living by doing odd jobs.

After marrying Anne Hewlett and serving in the Navy during World War I, he worked for his architect father-in-law at a company that manufactured reinforced bricks. The company went under in 1927, and Fuller set out on a year of isolation and solitude, during which time he nurtured many of his ideas — such as four-dimensional thinking (including time), which he dubbed 4D — and the search for maximum human benefit with minimum use of energy and materials using design. He also pondered inventing light, portable towers that could be moved with airships anywhere on the planet, which he was already beginning to refer to as Spaceship Earth.

Dymaxion Universe Prefabrication and the pursuit of lightness through cables were the main characteristics of 4D towers, just like the module of which they were made, a dwelling supported by a central mast whose model was presented as a singlefamily house and was displayed in 1929 at the Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago and called Dymaxion House. The name was coined by the store’s public relations team by joining the words that most often appeared in Fuller’s eloquent explanations: dynamics, maximum, and tension, and which the visionary designer would later use for other inventions like the car, also called Dymaxion.

The 4D autoairplane, developed as a hybrid aircraft and automobile based on a sketch by Fuller in 1928, and the 4D transport, the land version (which came later), gave rise to the creation of the mythical Dymaxion car, in a collaboration with yacht designer Starling Burgess. Three versions of this three-wheel vehicle were produced in 1933 and 1934.

The Dymaxion Car was displayed at the 1933 Chicago World Fair; at the gates, however, it was involved in a tragic accident, compromising the bright future heralded by the great curiosity that surrounded it. But Fuller still believed in applying science to design, developing several smaller prototypes in later years that anticipated the urban vehicles of the future. The Dymaxion was indeed a car ahead of its time, as evidenced by the fourth version, built by Foster in 2010.

Sustainable Houses During the Great Depression, Fuller published a small magazine called Shelter, which proposed using low-cost prefabricated dwellings to kick-start the stagnant economy. In this vein, he designed the Dymaxion Deployment Unit (DDU) in 1941 as an emergency shelter inspired by the metallic agricultural silos that had become widespread in response to the New Deal’s agricultural policies. Fuller added portholes and a ventilation system at the top of the conical roof, removing the central mast in the process. Tens of thousands were produced, used primarily by the Army.

At the end of World War II, Fuller completed the research he had started with the Dymaxion, moving on to the amazing Wichita House, an aluminium capsule named after the city in Kansas where the aircraft factory that was converted into a facility for the mass production of houses was located. In the end, manufacturing never began due to a conflict between the designer and his business associates. Today the house exists only as a restored prototype on display since 1991 at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, near Detroit.

Geometrical Explorations With the failure of the extraordinary Wichita House adventure, the tireless engineer and thinker steered his creative activity towards research focused more on geometry than on production. His studies on the sphere and the geodesic grids led to the development of a new projection system, the Dymaxion Map. It was such a unique invention that the US Patent Office accepted the application, making it the first map of its kind to be registered in 150 years. His studies also gave rise to his famed design of geodesic domes, of which hundreds of thousands were built, bringing him great popularity.

The early steps of this new experience took place at the now-legendary Black Mountain College, where Fuller taught during the summers of 1948 and 1949 in the company of professors such as Josef and Anni Albers, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Willem and Elaine de Kooning. There with his students he built a geodesic dome with old venetian blinds that never stood on its own, but which planted the seed for countless domes built later, all of them raised under the patent registered by Fuller in due course.

The key design during the second summer of teaching at Black Mountain College was the tensegrity structures, conceived as sculptures by a student (the young artist, Kenneth Snelson, who had been Fuller’s assistant during his first summer) and which the designer named in reference to their tensional integrity, in contrast with their discontinuous compression. The intellectual authorship of the structures was disputed between teacher and student, but Fuller finally registered the patent, building a few large-scale sculptures similar to those of Snelson and designing a series for museums.

The concept of tensegrity, launched as artistic research, earned great relevance later in several fields: in structures, of course, but also in biology, where biotensegrity has been proposed as a new paradigm which unifies the mechanical interpretation of living beings, from the organic to the cellular level. In the field of chemistry, the 1996 Nobel Prize went to the discoverers of the C60 carbon molecule, also known as Buckminsterfullerene or buckyball, as a tribute to the
geometrical explorations of Fuller.

A Geodesic Revolution: Domes for the World The geodesic dome was Fuller’s most fruitful invention, the one that best unites his global thinking with his constructive intelligence, and the one which we most indelibly associate with his name and his legacy, as reflected on the famous cover of Time in 1964, with a portrait by the Ukrainian illustrator Boris Artzybasheff.

A result of his research on the geometry of the sphere, and after the failed or unsatisfactory dome experiences at Black Mountain College in 1947 and in the Pentagon Gardens in 1949, the grids developed in the two offices of his company, Geodesics, by Duncan Stewart in Raleigh (North Carolina) and by Bill Wainwright in Cambridge (Massachusetts) allowed for the building of the first important geodesic dome in 1953 for Ford Motor Company. It was patented in 1954 and beat the free span world record in 1958 with the almost 120-meter diameter dome built for the Union Tank Car Company in Baton Rouge (Louisiana).

Public recognition would finally come at Montreal’s Expo ’67 with the US Pavilion, a spherical structure that was designed with his young collaborator Shoji Sadao. It drew worldwide attention and spurred an widespread proliferation of geodesic domes. In the 1960s, Fuller and Sadao proposed several large-scale projects in line with the megastructures of the decade, which was marked by technological optimism. They applied the principles of the science to design advocated by the tireless engineer, whose visionary ambition reached new heights, driven by the economic and popular success of the geodesic domes.

The Dome over Manhattan, which would take shape as a canonical image, was based on the notion of tensegrity which had guided construction in 1959 of a large sphere at the University of Oregon, and another one that was shown that same year at New York’s MoMA. The greater effectiveness of tension over compression inspired an oneiric proposal that he took further with the Floating Cloud Structures, ie, tensegrity spheres measuring more than a kilometre wide and held aloft as balloons by the interior air, heated by the sun.

Working with Norman Foster Norman Foster met Fuller in 1971, when the designer was looking for an architect with which to collaborate on the construction of a theatre under St Peter’s College courtyard, in Oxford. The building was never executed, but Fuller and Foster developed a close relationship, which materialised in theoretical projects such as the Climatroffice, a large open-plan workspace with lush vegetation under a colossal ovoid dome.

“That was the start of a working relationship and valued friendship that lasted for 12 years up to his death”, says Norman Foster. In 1983, Buckminster Fuller participated in the ceremony in which Norman Foster received a RIBA Gold Medal; ten days later he passed away in Los Angeles, after visiting his wife Anne Hewlett Fuller, who died 36 hours later. This tragedy interrupted the last joint project between Foster and Fuller: two identical autonomous houses, designed with concentric geodesic domes, which were to be built in England and California as a family residence for each of them.

During the last period of his life, Fuller became a mythical figure for the alternative movement, which saw in geodesic domes a new way of inhabiting the planet that joined economy of means and empathy with nature. Paradoxically, the same person who had once been described as a technocrat and a collaborator with the Pentagon became a genuine guru for counterculture and ecological groups, who attended his marathon lectures in masses, sharing the visionary and holistic spirit of the man who once described our planet as a spaceship.

The exhibition is curated by Norman Foster and Luis Fernández-Galiano.


First edition of the Dymaxion Air Ocean World Map, published in Lifemagazine, March 1943, Courtesy, The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Buckminster Fuller, US Pavilion for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, 1967, Image courtesy the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

A Reconsideration of Universal Paradigms in Science and Humanities

Buckminster Fuller, Model of Triton City, 1967, 20 1/2 x 49 1/2 x 44 5/8", National Archives and Records Administration, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin, Texa, Photograph © Bob Daemmrich.

Buckminster Fuller, US Pavilion for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, 1967, Image courtesy the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Buckminster Fuller, Sketch for 4D Transportation Unit, 1929, Ink and graphite on paper, 8 1/2 x 11", Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Image courtesy the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Buckminster Fuller, 4D Tower: Time Interval 1 Meter, 1928, Gouache and graphite over positive Photostat on paper, 14 x 10 7/8", Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, Image courtesy Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) R. Buckminster Fuller, 1929, Chrome-plated bronze, 13 x 8 x 10", Alexandra and Samuel May, © 2007 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photograph by F. S. Lincoln.


Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York
Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe
June 26-September 21, 2008

“Now there is one outstandingly important fact regarding Spaceship Earth, and that is that no instruction book came with it.”

— R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (1969)

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe is the first major American exhibition in decades devoted to the vision and work of Buckminster Fuller, and the most inclusive show to date of Fuller’s work. The show is co-curated by Michael Hays, Adjunct Curator of Architecture, and Dana Miller, Associate Curator at the Whitney; the curators worked with the Department of Special Collections of the Stanford University Libraries and the cooperation of the Fuller family.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was one of the great American creative thinkers of the 20 th century. Philosopher, forecaster, designer, poet, inventor, and advocate of alternative energy, Fuller is probably best known as the originator of the geodesic dome, but his theories and innovations engaged fields ranging from mathematics, engineering, and environmental science to literature, architecture, and visual art. Fuller was one of the great transdisciplinary thinkers and made no distinction between these spheres as discrete areas of investigation. He devoted much of his life to closing the gap between the sciences and the humanities, a schism he felt prevented a comprehensive view of the world. He believed in the significant interconnectedness of all things and concluded that certain basic structures and systems underlie everything in our world. Today his prophetic concepts are a touchstone for discussions of issues including environmental conservation, the manufacture and distribution of housing, and global organization of information.

As curators Hays and Miller write in their catalogue introduction, “Fuller sought to produce comprehensive anticipatory design solutions that would benefit the largest segment of humanity while consuming the fewest resources … Starting as he did from the universe and ending up with visual-spatial models with which to ponder universal philosophical problems in the here and now, it is not surprising that Fuller has had a tremendous impact on the visual arts and architecture. His sensibilities and modes of working were deeply aesthetic and many of his closest friends and supporters were artists. Today, his lessons take on an even greater relevance. Fuller’s concepts are ripe for reexamination by artists, architects, designers, scientists, and poets … The exhibition and catalogue also are intended for an entire generation who know little or nothing about Fuller but share his curiosity about nature’s structures or his sense of urgency about economies, ecologies, and their interactions.”

This exhibition offers an opportunity to study the pioneering thinking of an intensely passionate, prolific, and idiosyncratic individual. It includes original examples of Fuller’s important works from both private and public collections, among them the sole extant Dymaxion car; models of the Wichita House; the Tetrascroll portfolio; several geodesic study models; as well as numerous sketches, notebooks, and other artifacts. Many of the artifacts and documents in the show are held in the R. Buckminster Fuller Archive at the Stanford University Libraries.

Richard Buckminster Fuller Jr. was born on July 12, 1895, in Milton, Massachusetts, to an old New England family. His great-aunt was the transcendentalist feminist writer Margaret Fuller, co-founder, with Ralph Waldo Emerson, of the magazine The Dial. Spending summers on Bear Island, off the coast of Maine, Fuller showed an early propensity for design and invention. At a young age, he experimented with designing a new apparatus for human propulsion of small boats. He attended Milton Academy, in Massachusetts, and entered Harvard in 1913, but was expelled, returned to the university the following year, and left again, without ever graduating.

Between periods at Harvard, he was sent to Canada by his family to work as a mechanic in a cousin’s textile mill, and later as a laborer in the meat-packing industry. He married Anne Hewlett in 1917. Fuller served in the U.S. Naval Reserves and the U.S. Navy in World War I as a shipboard radio operator, an editor for a Navy publication, and a crash-boat commander. After discharge, he again worked in meat-packing, where he acquired management experience. In the early 1920s he and his father-in-law developed the Stockade Building System for producing lightweight, weatherproof, and fireproof housing.

In 1922, Fuller lost his first child, Alexandra, shortly before her fourth birthday, to complications from polio and spinal meningitis. A few years later, he was ousted as president of the Stockade Midwest Corporation by new owners and took a job as a flooring salesman. In 1927, jobless and destitute, Fuller considered taking his own life, but later said that he decided at the last moment to embark instead on "an experiment, to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity."

Fortune magazine’s editorial staff as a technical consultant, participated in museum exhibitions, and developed friendships with a number of artists, including Isamu Noguchi. He collaborated with the copper company Phelps Dodge Corporation on prototypes of the Dymaxion Bathroom, an easily installed, lightweight, four-part unit Fuller envisioned incorporating into Dymaxion Houses. In 1939, his Dymaxion House model and Dymaxion Bathroom were included in Art in Our Time, an exhibition celebrating the opening of the new building of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

’s exposure to artists increased considerably when he took a teaching position at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he taught for two summers, in 1948 and 1949, encountering Josef and Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Richard Lippold, and Kenneth Snelson. The first summer, Fuller played the lead in Erik Satie’s play The Ruse of Medusa, organized by Cage and directed by Arthur Penn; it featured Cunningham and Elaine de Kooning, and employed props and sets by Ruth Asawa and the de Koonings. It was there, at Black Mountain College, with the support of a group of professors and students, that Fuller began work on the project that would make him famous, the geodesic dome. In 1949, he erected the world’s first geodesic dome building that could sustain its own weight with no practical The growing recognition that Fuller enjoyed in the 1950s reached a crescendo in the mid-1960s. Throughout this period and for the rest of his life, he contributed a wide range of ideas, designs, and inventions to the world, particularly in the areas of practical, inexpensive shelter and transportation. Fuller wrote several books in short succession and was the subject of extensive press coverage, including a 1964 Time cover story and a profile by Calvin Tomkins in The New Yorker, in 1966. He taught and lectured at hundreds of universities, contributed writings to numerous publications and had his work exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world. He was awarded 28 U.S. patents and many honorary doctorates and received the Medal of Freedom, as well as the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects, among numerous other awards. Fuller died on July 1, 1983, at the age of 87.

A comprehensive, fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. The curators, Michael Hays and Dana Miller, in addition to writing the introduction together, have each contributed an essay. Antoine Picon and Elizabeth Smith offer two essays on Fuller’s impact, the former placing him within the history of utopian thought and the emergence of a society of information and communication, and the latter illuminating several of the important ways in which Fuller’s impact is manifested in today’s contemporary art. Calvin Tomkins’s seminal 1966 New Yorker profile of Fuller is reprinted, which perhaps more than any other article from Fuller’s lifetime captures the international figure at the height of his creative powers, while also drawing an intimate portrait. The catalogue is rounded out by a contextual chronology by Jennie Goldstein, which reminds us that although Fuller was a singular individual, he was always part of the historical fabric of his time. The catalogue is being co-published and distributed by Yale University Press.

Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965) R. Buckminster Fuller, 1963, Tempera on board, 21 1/2 x 17", National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine.

Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao Dome Over Manhattan, 1960, Black-and-white photograph mounted on board, 13 3/4 x 18 3/8", Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Image courtesy the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Buckminster Fuller, Building Construction – Dymaxion Deployment Unit, United States Patent Office no. 2,343,764, filed March 21, 1941, serial no. 384,509, granted March 7, 1944 inventor: Buckminster Fuller, From the portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One, 1981, Screenprint on Lenox paper, 30 x 40", Collection of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne, Image courtesy Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati.