Soon, the first space-based art exhibition will be held after Warhol's penis upon the Moon.
1969 was an erotic year. In secret, Warhol and Rauschenberg traveled with Apollo 12 to the Moon. Half a century later the ISS is getting ready for a nano-gallery.
In 1969, the Apollo 12 mission was flown with a secret guest. NASA engineer John F. managed to sneak the world's smallest museum aboard. The Moon Museum is actually smaller than a postal stamp. Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol's contemporaries, and Forrest Myers, the sculptor, engraved a work on a small piece of ceramic. Warhol chose a penis, which he didn't even attempt to pass off as rockets,
To ensure that artists could keep one copy, the work was divided into multiple copies. Apollo 12 was already in production when Myers' confession was published in the New York Times, November 22, 1969. The thumb that holds the "museum", conveniently hides Warhol’s work in the illustration.
There is a secret plaque called the moon museum on the Apollo 12 moon lander with contributions from six artists.
The initiatives are now official after fifty years: drawings sent to Moon, art placed in orbit... These projects, far from the playful and spontaneous spirit of the Moon Museum's, have been meticulously developed, supervised and validated by NASA and other space agencies. After a decade of preparations, the MoonArk mini-museum at Carnegie Mellon University should take flight soon.
According to Lowry Burgess, the master builder of this miniature tower that measures only twenty centimeters high, it offers a "kaleidoscopic view of humanity". This pioneer in space art, who died in 2020, was responsible for coordinating the contributions of 300 artists. His 1989 work "Boundless Cubic Lunar Aperture" was the first spacecraft to reach orbit. There are a diamond, plankton and a love song. Also, there is the DNA of many life forms, photos, and many nano-works.
MoonArk was originally scheduled to launch in 2021. However, the Moon Gallery Foundation, which is based in the Netherlands, may beat it to the punch. The University of Leiden and European Space Agency (ESA) support this independent platform that plans to send a nano-gallery into space next February. A spokesperson for the platform said that the gallery will fly to the Selene star in 2025 after this test flight. The mission is "to develop interplanetary cultures".
The gallery is 8 cm in square and will house 64 works in dedicated boxes with a maximum size of 0.98 cm. Why is space being miniaturized for the pieces? It is important to consider both the weight and mass of the bulk. The more complicated or heavy an object is to transport, the more expensive it will be. This is why we have imposed this restriction: Each artistic artifact must fit within a cubic centimeter.
Practically, the works can be described as a variety of messages, from historical homage and societal commentary. An Italian artist pays tribute to Galileo, a Japanese-American-Austrian trio plans to test the possible degradation of information contained in synthetic DNA after a trip to space... Homeopathic pills are available to warn other planet inhabitants about the dangers of the pharmaceutical sector. Benjamin Pothier, a Frenchman, pays tribute to Yves Klein’s blue pigment.
Many miniatures combine art and technology. Lakshmi Mohanbabu is a Singaporean architect and artist who collaborated with Dr. Matteo Seita from the 3D Printing Centre (3DP) at the highly-regarded Nanyang Technological University Singapore. Her work, entitled "Structure and reflection", was subject to numerous tests with various alloys to achieve the perfect "optical contrast" on the cube's surface. This complex geometry was achieved thanks to crystals, which underline the duality of thoughts and emotions. It is a duality that echoes the Moon, visible to all, but whose hidden portion has remained largely unknown to the world for millennia.
The Moon's cost
Nanoracks, a private aerospace company, will manage the convoy to the ISS for the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply missions in February 2022. The cost of the trip will vary depending on the work involved. It can cost between 500 and 3000 euros. They will need to each spend between 10-15,000 euros each in order to reach the Moon by 2025.
Moon Gallery Foundation is happy with the first step in aerospace, which it calls "the last frontier for human habitation" and will enable them to spread their values throughout the universe. Even though the gallery will eventually reach the Moon, our goal is to establish a cultural dialogue between humanity and other planets.