Photograph of Drop City dome. Courtesy: 7th Art.
“This dome feels gooood!” So proclaimed the mellow, avuncular Clark Richert on a breezy early summer evening at the MoMA PS1 Dome in Rockaway Beach, Queens. Richert is one of the world’s experts on dome vibes: he was co-founder of the Drop City community in southeastern Colorado that constructed fanciful geodesic structures out of improvised materials in the mid-to-late 1960s. He and Richard Kallweit, another Drop City founder, were on site to discuss the eponymous film about the collective, which had its NYC premiere in Rockaway on June 21 (the PS1 dome opened in March and was dismantled in late June). Directed by Joan Grossman, the feature-length documentary probed the history and legacy of the seven-year experiment in communal living in which members, in pioneering proto-environmentalist fashion, lived on their neighbor’s castoffs while hunting for car tops and construction materials in dumps and scrapyards from which to build domes of various kinds around their communally-owned property.