In 2011, Meulensteen presented Ebb, an exhibition featuring aluminum and fiberglass prototypes of the Rowing Needles designed by R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) in 1970 for his own use. Also on view is a short archival film of the renowned architect and engineer demonstrating his design on the water. Buckminster Fuller was one of the most influential minds of the 20th century; his work as an innovator in architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and philosophy brought together idealism and materialism to shape a new understanding of the times in which we live. At the same time, the Rowing Needles and the film highlight a lighthearted side of this iconic figure. The significance of Fuller’s legacy is reflected in the way his work continues to inspire young cultural producers today. For this exhibition, furniture designer Eli Levenstein has created a film viewing environment in homage to Fuller. Central to Levenstein’s design ethos is the concept of transmutability. Working with readily available materials, he creates furniture whose function is perpetually open to individual interpretation. In his current intervention, tension cables hold aloft a construction of wire mesh and cable ties; redundant intersections abound to provide structural integrity. Cotton batting and fragments of bedspread cover the structure, providing an intimate interface between the individual body and the topography of the designed object. Eli Levenstein received an MFA in 2009 from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Furniture Design and a BFA in Video Art from Bard College in 2000. In 2010, MASS MoCA commissioned Levenstein to create a reading room for the exhibition Material World: Sculpture to Environment. Levenstein was recently profiled in the Korean art and design publication Bob Magazine. R. Buckminster Fuller earned 28 patents and received 44 honorary doctorates in his lifetime. His designs, particularly that of the geodesic dome, continue to be applied around the world. Ebb marks the fourth exhibition at the gallery dedicated to Buckminster Fuller, and Levenstein’s second show with Meulensteen.
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