Design at Southern Illinois University
photo by Dale Carlson photo by Dale Carlson
John McHale John McHale was an English artist and writer who joined the SIU design department in the early 1960s. In London in the early 1950s, John worked as a pop artist with the independent group. He is thought to have been the first person to use the term “pop art.” McHale came to America in 1955 to study at Yale with Joseph Albers. Bucky was also teaching at Yale at that time. The Architectural Review of July, 1956 carried a six-page biography of Buckminster Fuller by John McHale, this appears to be one of their earliest collaborations. In 1961 McHale published Education in Progess about the design department (check the documents tab for a copy). The next year his book, R Buckminster Fuller, came out from Prentice-Hall.
photo by Dale Carlson Remembering John and Magda I worked for a time in the Research Division of the DD. It was totally cool because we got a table in the Department's "headquarters" and a key to the door. That was shortly after Bucky had arrived with his entourage -- Reyner Banham, John McHale and Magda sailing through the barracks with her scarves flowing behind her.  My only contact with Bucky was one day when he stood next to my table and said, "Find out everything about urethane." So I spent a lot of time at Morris Library in those far-off days before Google, and a few weeks later put on his table a foot-high stack of books with little paper slips marking the pages and articles and whatever else constituted "everything" I could find. Several days later, he came over to my table and said, "Nice job." I thought I had died and gone to heaven. What I remember best about John McHale is that I loved his class on the history and evolution of tools, but that I had a hard time concentrating on what he was saying because he rolled he own cigarettes very tightly with one hand, with black papers and yellow tobacco, and then with the same hand lit the match and threw it away, all without ever stopping his lecture. Bill Perkins • 1963 design department grad
Back of figure says: Happy Birthday Aug 19, 1967 & Le Mondial
John McHale with what appears to be a birthday card in the form of a stick figure. The back of the figure says, Happy Birthday- Aug 19, 1967 and Le Mondial. The face appears to be a picture of John with the words see the world on one cheek. Le Mondial probably refers to Le Festival Mondial: the world festival U.S.A. at Expo 67 in Montreal where Bucky’s dome housed the U.S. pavilion.
All McHale birthday photos by Dale Carlson
By 1964, Bucky and McHale had moved to a new office at 711 South University. McHale worked on more books, magazine articles, and the World Design Science Decade project. In 1964 he led the Geoscope project at Colorado State University. read more
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John McHale