The Art Museum of West Virginia University and The Friends of the Museum announce their next “Art Up Close!” event of the spring semester, focusing on individual works of art from the museum collection.

The March 1 presentation is “Buckminster Fuller’s Jitterbug Atom,” by Kristina Olson, art history professor at WVU.

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) was an American architect and engineer remembered as the ‘Wizard of the Dome’ for his invention of the geodesic dome. This talk will explore Fuller’s “Jitterbug Atom,” a sculpture in the collection of the Art Museum of West Virginia University.

The moveable aluminum object demonstrates Fuller’s principle of “tensegrity,” or tensional integrity, which is the basis of his dome and many other projects. The presentation will offer an art historian’s take on this fascinating piece and its relationship to developments in modern architecture and sculpture.

The “Art Up Close!” presentations are held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Museum Education Center (formerly the Erickson Alumni Center) adjacent to the WVU Creative Arts Center. All the events are free and open to the public.

Olson is associate professor of art history and associate director of the School of Art & Design. She teaches courses in modern and contemporary art, architecture and theory. Her research concentrates on the intersection of contemporary art and architecture with recent conference papers and publications on the work of Michael Graves (designer of the Museum Education Center, the former Erickson Alumni Center), Zaha Hadid, Diller + Scofidio, and Rem Koolhaas.

She has been an exhibition reviewer for such periodicals as “Art in America,” “Art Papers” and “Sculpture Magazine” and is the exhibition reviews editor for the “Southeastern College Art Conference Review.” She is a contributor to the book “Kartoon Kings: The Graphic Work of Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio” (West Virginia University Press, 2007), and co-editor of “Blanche Lazzell: The Life and Work of an American Modernist” (West Virginia University Press, 2004).

Each “Art Up Close!” presentation features an original work of art and commentary by WVU faculty, followed by a question and answer session and light refreshments.

This series of lectures is designed to give an in-depth look at a single work of art selected from the WVU Art Collection. Audience members will have the opportunity to view the actual work of art.

For more information, contact the Art Museum of WVU at (304) 293-2141 or see the website at:

CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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