The Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission Has the Art World Over the Moon. Here Are 8 Must-See Art Events in New York
From Robert Rauschenberg's NASA art to an auction of handwriting from space, moon fever has struck art.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. To honor that momentous achievement, a surprising number of art events in New York City have turned to the moon for inspiration, and we’ve rounded up the most out-of-this-world examples. From Robert Rauschenberg’s poetic ode to NASA to a cosmic playground at Socrates Sculpture Park, there’s a moon-themed art show for all tastes.
Of course, real moon-heads will know that the main attraction is the lunar eclipse, hitting tonight—but since it won’t really be visible in North America (unless you fancy a quick trip to Nantucket), our list of more earthbound events will have to do.
1. “Robert Rauschenberg: Stoned Moon 1969–70” at Craig F. Starr Gallery
Through July 26, 2019
In July 1969, NASA invited artist Robert Rauschenberg to Cape Canaveral to watch the historic launch of Apollo 11, as part of the agency’s art program. Rauschenberg was captivated by the expedition, and set out to create the Stoned Moon Book, which included prints, drawings, and collages that documented the mission, and what it meant for the American culture. Craig F. Starr gallery is exhibiting 20 drawings and two prints by the artist to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Landing.
Craig F. Starr gallery is located at 5 East 73rd Street, New York City
2. “Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography” at the Met Fifth Avenue
July 3–September 22, 2019
The Met’s comprehensive show unites science and art with a sweeping presentation showing how the moon has been depicted in photography and other visual art over the centuries since its invention, from Caspar David Friedrich’s moody and atmospheric painting, to diagrammatic pamphlets and other historic artifacts that track early spatial observations.
The Met is located at 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
3. “One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 Years After Apollo 11,” at Christie’s New York
July 18, 2019
The auction house’s Books & Manuscripts division is auctioning off a cache of moon-related objects, including the star lot (or the moon lot?), titled the “Apollo 11 Module Timeline Book” and estimated to sell for a jaw-dropping $7–9 million. The Timeline Book features real-time records of the Apollo 11 mission, annotated by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong as they maneuvered the Eagle spacecraft on the moon, including the first ever human handwriting that took place off world!
Christie’s is located at 20 Rockefeller Center, New York City; viewing open July 16 & 17: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Live auction begins at 10 a.m. July 18
4. “Space Exploration” Sale at Sotheby’s New York
July 20, 2019
Here we have a whole slew of objects from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions consigned directly from astronauts and estates. From prototype gear to signed photographs, plus lunar blueprints and models, the sale has more than 200 lots, perfect for all space cadets. The featured lot is an original, first-generation recording of the moon landing (the only one still in existence) estimated to sell for $1–2 million.
Sotheby’s is located at 1334 York Avenue, New York City; viewing open July 16–19: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Live auction begins at 11 a.m. July 20
5. “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion” at the Brooklyn Museum
July 20–January 5, 2020
The French designer Pierre Cardin just celebrated his 97th birthday, and as a belated present will be feted with the first retrospective in more than 40 years to survey his pioneering space-age designs at the Brooklyn Museum. Cardin’s visionary fashions in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s anticipated the craze that would sweep the world as the “Space Race” seeped from the political into the cultural sphere. The show will feature more than 170 objects from Cardin’s archive, including ensembles made with nontraditional materials like plastic, vinyl, and the “Cardine synthetic fabric.”
The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238
6. “Apollo 11: Media, the Moon and Beyond” at the Intrepid Museum
Through September 3, 2019
What better place to celebrate the Lunar Landing that at New York’s very own Intrepid Museum, where the actual Space Shuttle Enterprise is on view! The Enterprise is just one aspect of the museum’s interactive show exploring how the Apollo 11 mission was filtered through the media. A special outdoor screening of the film First Man will also be open to the public on Friday, July 19 (when admission to the museum is free).
The Intrepid Museum is located at Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
7. “Chronos Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space“ at Socrates Sculpture Park
through September 3, 2019
The sprawling series of outdoor installations at Socrates Sculpture Park is an investigation by artists into how time, space, history, and site coexist in reality and imagination. The show “features cosmic perspectives, various scales of time and space, and speculative gestures”—some more abstract than others.
Socrates Sculpture Park is located at 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY 11106
8. “Above and Beyond: The Ultimate Flight Exhibition” at the New York Hall of Science
Through September 8, 2019
At the New York Hall of Science, a special summertime exhibition features flight simulation technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, plus more gizmos than you can imagine, all of it aimed at getting you to really feel what it means to catapult into outer space. Sounds stellar!
The New York Hall of Science is located at 47-01 111th Street, Corona, New York
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