IDEAS + INVENTIONS: Buckminster Fuller and Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
July 15 – November 26, 2005
Wed-Sat, 12pm-4pm

Opening Reception:
Friday July 15, 6:00
$3 admission, free for BMCM+AC members and AIA members
Exhibition co-sponsors: Rupert Ravens, nices inc., and AIA Asheville

An exhibition exploring the genius of R. Buckminster Fuller through two- and three dimensional works.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was one of the most inventive, influential, and inspiring figures of the 20th century. Through his ideas and inventions, his teaching and lecturing around the globe, he influenced current thought in a wide variety of fields, including commercial and industrial design, mathematics, the sciences, the arts and architecture. His basic approach was to apply both scientific knowledge and creativity to think “outside the box” when attempting to solve practical problems. Bucky’s foremost concern was to find ways to “do more with less” and to use resources most efficiently to serve humanity. He invented the term “Spaceship Earth” to encourage people to see the entire world as one interdependent system. During his life and career, Fuller was awarded 25 U.S. patents, wrote 28 books, received 47 honorary doctorate degrees, circled the Earth 57 times consulting and lecturing, and received dozens of major architectural and design awards along with the prestigious Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in America. Buckminster Fuller taught at Black Mountain College in the summers of 1948 and 1949, and he served as the Director of the BMC Summer Institute in 1949.

The exhibition IDEAS+ INVENTIONS: Buckminster Fuller and Black Mountain College will include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works that present and explore Fuller’s ideas. Also included in the show will be photographs taken of him and his students at Black Mountain College during the summers of 1948 and 1949, a Dymaxion map, and an autographed drawing of a geodesic dome. People can assemble models based on Fuller’s inventions and fully experience his genius in a special hands-on area.

In working with architectural forms, Fuller realized that virtually all traditional building had been based on the rectangle as a fundamental structural unit. He discovered, however, that the most stable structural form is not the rectangle but the triangle. The geodesic dome is therefore constructed of any number of equilateral triangles connected at angles to one another to form a dome, which is actually one-half of a sphere. The word “geodesic” is used to describe the geometry of curved surfaces. This building form is scalable to any size, so that anything from a child’s toy to the 20-story high dome built in Montreal for the 1967 World’s Fair is based on exactly the same principle. The dome uses the “doing more with less” idea in that it encloses the largest volume of interior space with the least amount of surface area thus saving on materials and cost. At Black Mountain College in 1948 and ’49, Fuller and students spent a great deal of time working on the design and construction of geodesic domes. In 1948, their attempt to build the first large-scale dome (with venetian blind strips!) failed, and the structure was subsequently referred to as the “Supine Dome”. The next summer, with sturdier materials, they were successful. Photographs from both of these endeavors will be on view in the exhibition.

The Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center is located at 56 Broadway in downtown Asheville. Hours are 12-4 pm Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment.

Related Programming:

Music from Black Mountain College
concert by itch – Brevard Music Center New Music Ensemble
Saturday, July 16, 8:00 pm
$10, $7 BMCM+AC members + students
Co-sponsor: Brevard Music Center

Important 20th century composers such as John Cage, Stefan Wolpe and Lou Harrison spent critical time at Black Mountain College teaching and writing adventurous new music. BMCM+AC presents music by these Black Mountain College composers as performed by itch, the Brevard Music Center New Music Ensemble.

Making the Invisible Visible: Bucky Fuller and Immersive Media Environments
by David McConville
Thursday, August 18, 8:00 pm
$5 Co-sponsor: The Media Arts Project

Innovative visualization tools and immersive media environments are increasingly being used to bring complex ideas to life. David McConville, co-founder of the Elumenati, will discuss the influence that Fuller’s designs and philosophy have had on artists and scientists. From experiments in the 1950s with immersive projection to contemporary video game designs, McConville will explore how Fuller’s visionary ideas are continuing to be brought to life.

Theater Performance:
Erik Satie’s The Ruse of Medusa
August 25 through September 3 – at the North Carolina Stage Company
Tickets: $15 – call the NCSC box office at 828-350-9090
Co-sponsor: North Carolina Stage Company

In partnership with the NC Stage Company, BMCM+AC presents Erik Satie’s lyric comedy, The Ruse of Medusa (Le Piège de Méduse) considered to be the first example of surrealist drama. The one-act play in seven scenes is punctuated by dances in between each scene. Performed in English for the first time at Black Mountain College in 1948, the play had an all-star cast including Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Elaine de Kooning. John Cage performed the music and Willem de Kooning designed the stage sets. Along with being the first Surrealist drama, this is the first composition requiring the use of a prepared piano, as Satie inserted paper between the hammers and strings of the instrument to create a particular timbral effect.

Great Circles and Spaceship Earth (for all ages)
Saturday, October 1
10:00 am-12:00 (session I)
2:00-4:00 pm (session II)
$7, $5 BMCM+AC members and children under 12
Instructor: Marnie Muller
(call 350-8484 to register)

Inspired by Bucky’s visionary explorations, we will use Zome Kits and other media to creatively model some of the living geometries of our planet Earth.