These photos of The Dome Show, an exhibition by art collective Intermedia at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1970, are all from the web archive Ruins In Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties. (See another post on this absolutely amazing site here.) The Dome Show was an experimental art show involving architecture, sculpture, performance, music, improvised happenings, a giant public dinner party, bonfires, public home movie nights and many other things over the months of its exhibition. Above, Installing the Dome Show at the VAG.
From the site: “The unifying structure of the Dome Show was Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome. Each Intermedia member who was interested was invited to build domes individually or communally for the exhibition. Before the exhibition installation Intermedia members constructed their domes in a variety of public spaces, including the Maplewood Mud Flats, at 4th and Arbutus, Kitsilano Beach, in front of the Bentall Center in Downtown Vancouver, and outside of the Vancouver planetarium.”
Buckminster’s geodesic dome was obviously at the height of its popularity then. Now, forty years later, there seems to be a revival of interest in its utopian promise or its grooviness or its sheer architectural difference or what, exactly? It reappears during times of environmental crisis, war, or general turmoil? Or when staid protestantism makes you want to flee to a stately hippie pleasure dome? The critique of Buckminster Fuller’s dome as a product of the military industrial complex is only one element in its contradictory history. Wherever the appeal of the dome derives from, I’m grateful to Ruins in Process for the documentation. The website is particularly valuable not just because of the beards and the fashions, but because it d0cuments a period of art that for all its notoriety is actually not all that well known, not just because it was pre-internet, but also perhaps because of the tendency of the work to be temporary, performative, process-based and dependent upon happenings, and in so many other ways difficult to document. Also, as Carole Itter says in her interview on the site, if you were present at a happening and were documenting, it meant you weren’t in the moment, and that wasn’t cool. Her comments on the role of women in Intermedia are also pretty interesting.
Above, an art insert in the Vancouver weekly The Georgia Straight. Below, construction of a dome in the Mudflats, Vancouver.
Above and below, dancers in a dome near the Burrard Street Bridge.
Above,”Bingo,” an event at City Feast, a city-wide public dinner to close The Dome Show. Below, End of the Dome Show – burning of a dome out in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, on the night of City Feast at the close of the show. A bonfire on one of Vancouver’s main arteries could so not happen now.