Snelson claims that Buckminster Fuller, who was once his professor, took credit for Snelson's discovery of the concept of tensegrity. Fuller gave the idea its name, combining 'tension' and 'structural integrity.' The geodesic domes which Fuller popularized are the most commonly known structures whose composition depends on tensegrity.
The height and strength of Snelson's sculptures, which are often delicate in appearance, depend on the tension between rigid pipes and flexible cables. This is achieved through "a win-win combination of push and pull."
Snelson was born in Pendleton, Oregon in 1927. He studied at the University of Oregon in Eugene, at the Black Mountain College, and with Fernand Léger in Paris. His sculpture and photography have been exhibited at over 25 one-man shows in galleries around the world including the structurally seminal Park Place Gallery in New York in the 60's. Snelson has also done research on the shape of the atom. He lives in New York City with his wife, Katherine.
He holds four United States patents: #3,169,611: Discontinuous Compression Structures, February, 1965; #3,276,148: Model for Atomic Forms, October, 1966; #4,099,339: Model for Atomic Forms, July, 1978; and #6,017,220: Magnetic Geometric Building System; and most recently, #6,739,937: Space Frame Structure Made by 3-D Weaving of Rod Members, May 25, 2004.
Snelson was a founding member of ConStruct, the artist-owned gallery that promoted and organized large-scale sculpture exhibitions throughout the United States. Other founding members include Mark di Suvero, John Raymond Henry, Lyman Kipp and Charles Ginnever.
Hudson Hills Press.(Henry Shawah: Goldsmith and Sculptor)(Abstract Expressionism and the American Experience: A Reevaluation)(Kenneth Snelson: Forces Made Visible)(Brief article)(Book review)
Aug 01, 2009; Hudson Hills Press Box 205, Manchester, VT 05254 www.hudsonhills.com HENRY SHAWAH: GOLDSMITH & SCULPTOR (1555953212, $65.00) by...