SIUE Receives Prints of Original Buckminster Fuller Artworks
February 15, 2018, 9:34 AM
The legacy of legendary 20th century architect and inventor Richard Buckminster Fuller will take on even larger life at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability (CSS-Dome), located on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, with the donation of a portfolio of the artist’s prints.
The Estate of Buckminster Fuller and Allegra Fuller-Snyder (Fuller’s daughter) donated “Twelve Around One” to the CSS, which Fuller designed.
“These 13 prints are rare artifacts and some of Fuller’s most iconic drawings,” said Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Rachel Stack. “Receiving this donation is just tremendous.”
“The donation was a way of honoring the good works being done by the Center on the SIUE campus,” said Benjamin Lowder, creative consultant at Fuller Dome SIUE and board member on the Fuller Dome Home at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
When Lowder learned that Fuller’s estate wanted to donate the prints to SIUE, he contacted the SIUE Foundation and the University Museum, where the prints are currently being stored until they are ready to be displayed.
“The silk screen prints are 30 inches by 40 inches,” according to Erin Vigneau-Dimick, collections manager at the University Museum. “SIUE has one of Buckminster Fuller’s own signed artist’s proofs of ‘Twelve Around One.’ A few notable other institutions which hold this portfolio include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum in New York City and Stanford University.”
Lowder and Vigneau-Dimick have written a grant proposal for a Meridian Award seeking funding to frame and display the prints, which are expected to be hung in November, according to Vigneau-Dimick.
“I hope that by displaying these prints, and having co-curricular activities and information to go along with them, it will make people more aware of a bona fide genius, who was a part-time faculty member at SIUE, although he had a full time appointment at (SIU) Carbondale,” said Stack.
Fuller had this to say about his work at the Center’s dedication in 1971, “A sense of orientation of each human individual within the profound magnificence of Universe is provided by the Center's miniature earth.”
“The comprehensive scope of Fuller’s intellect makes his world view uniquely impressive in the 20th century,” said Lowder. “The modern era has been a time of specialization with great thinkers, and the public at large, choosing a limited field of expertise in which to specialize. Fuller bucked this modern trend by resisting specialization and maintained a globally expansive vision.”
“Through his observation and understanding of nature, Fuller was able to see the impending ecological crisis that we are currently experiencing,” said Lowder. “This vision had Fuller promoting a package of concepts that have come to be known as ‘sustainability’ as early as the 1920’s.”
“Fuller epitomized the ability of being able to take STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) and make it STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math),” said Vigneau-Dimick.
“Fuller was an artist, engineer, mathematician and visionary, among other things,” she continued. “The Dome is not just a feat of engineering but is a feat of aesthetics, as well.”
The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability is an independent, not-for-profit organization located in the geodesic dome designed by Fuller on land leased from SIUE. Fuller worked as a professor in the SIUE Department of Design from 1959 to 1972, and since 1971 the SIUE Fuller Dome has served the University and area communities as a place for multi-faith and interfaith activity. A variety of educational, cultural and social events are held throughout the year inside this landmark structure. Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Baha’i and Native American faith traditions hold devotions, celebrations and public programs at the Center. The Center’s vision is to preserve the Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome in Edwardsville, Illinois, as the physical embodiment of Fuller's philosophy. The Dome’s translucent “miniature Earth” is a beacon for global unity, providing a place for connecting the world’s cultural and spiritual traditions through their common concern for the planet.
The University Museum of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, founded in 1979, is a repository and interpretive center whose interdisciplinary collections include more than 30,000 two- and three-dimensional objects of fine art, architecture, history, ethnology, archaeology and the natural sciences. The University Museum supports the instructional, research and public service functions of SIUE through the collection, interpretation, preservation, presentation and exhibition of objects which relate to the academic programs offered by the University to its students and the greater community which it serves.
Erin Vigneau-Dimick, collections manager at the University Museum, shows one of Buckminster Fuller’s prints of ‘Twelve Around One.’