Exhibition

The Utopian Impulse

Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area

March 31-July 29, 2012

The Bay Area has long attracted dreamers, progressives, nonconformists, and designers. Buckminster Fuller was all of these, and although he never lived in San Francisco, his ideas have spawned many local experiments in technology, design, and sustainability. The first to consider Fuller's Bay Area legacy, this exhibition features some of his most iconic projects as represented in a print portfolio recently acquired by SFMOMA, Inventions: Twelve Around One. Along with Fuller inventions like the 4D House, Geodesic Dome, World Game, and Dymaxion car, the exhibition presents Bay Area endeavors — from Ant Farm's 1972 domed Convention City proposal to a North Face tent, and from The Plastiki boat to One Laptop Per Child — inspired by Fuller's radical idealism and his visionary designs informed by technology, ecology, and social responsibility.

The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area is made possible through generous support from the Gensler Family Foundation and Obscura Digital.

Obscura Digital

  • Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, 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 overlaid on screenprint; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati
  • Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, 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 overlaid on screenprint; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved; Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati
  • Buckminster Fuller, Dymaxion Air-Ocean World Map, 1981; screen print; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Elizabeth and Carl Solway in memory of Robert Fillmore Lovett, Jr.; The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved
  • Ant Farm, Convention City 1976, 1972, printed 2012; print from 35mm slide; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; Ant Farm
  • Lloyd Kahn, Image of Pacific High School, 1968-1971; print from 35 mm slides; courtesy the designer; Lloyd Kahn
  • IwamotoScott Architecture with proces2, Jellyfish House, 2005-2006; nylon model; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase and Gift of IwamotoScott Architecture; IwamotoScott Architecture
  • Buckminster Fuller and Chuck Byrne, 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; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Chuck and Elizabeth Byrne; The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller, All Rights reserved. Published by Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati