Wait, So Is Not-Suicide Not-Painless?

Though I've never built a domehome or anything, I've been as much of an armchair fan of Buckminster Fuller as anyone. I mean, come on, man! DOMES!

But it also bugs that most of the discussion of Fuller today is wildly uncritical, tinged either with Boomer-era nostalgia for a near-paradise lost, or with the Koolaid-drunk ecstasy of the True-Believing dome builder. [Also, I've been annoyed by the seeming indifference among Fullerites for the material objects and artifacts of an ostensible architect/artist. But that's just my collector's bias.]

So the upcoming Whitney show on Fuller should be a winner on both fronts. Meanwhile, I wonder why it feels like it matters that Fuller apparently made up the oft-quoted anecdote of quasi-divine intervention that prevented him from killing himself and set him on his path to save Spaceship Earth and all her passengers? Is it because Fuller so unabashedly put on a messianic mantle? Or because even non-culty admirers like myself realize that they'd given the myth some kind of critical weight?

The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller [nyt]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: June 17, 2008.

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