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Image credit Mitchell Jamieson, First Steps, 1963, acrylic,
gauze, and paper on canvas
Astronaut Gordon Cooper, his silver suit flickering
in the mid-Paci?c sun, emerges from his Mercury 9
capsule after a record 34-hour, 22-orbit mission on
May 15–16, 1963.

event venue

Figge Art Museum

225 West Second Street
Iowa 52801 Davenport
T 563.326.7804
F 563.326.7876

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Denis OlivierDenis Olivier
Citizen of the World


PublishedSeptember 19, 2012 at 01:26pm
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Exploring NASAFigge Art Museum, Multimedia, Davenport, United-States
Saturday July 14, 2012 - Sunday October 7, 2012 - Event ended.

The Figge will light up the night sky this summer with a one-of-a-kind projection installation. Hubble Telescope images, children's drawings of astronauts and rockets, launch sequences and radio telescope images will be projected on the western exterior of the Figge building in the evening hours during the length of the exhibition.

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Exploring NASA is the collaborative effort of artists, musicians, scientists and administrators who are collectively working on an installation artwork that will explore aspects of NASA -from the exploration of the universe and development of technology to its societal impact.

Artist Bruce Walters, in collaboration with a team of artists, musicians, technicians and scientists, supervised the development of this installation to communicate a sense of optimism about the future and to convey a sense of collective effort and pursuit of knowledge. NASA represents to the artist the collective will to expand human understanding through a synthesis of technology, vision and courage. This artwork is intended to create a bold, interdisciplinary link between the arts and physics.

Established soon after the inception of the U.S. space program in 1958, NASA’s Art Program provides a unique way to communicate the accomplishments, setbacks, and sheer excitement of space exploration to the public. Over the years, more than 200 NASA-commissioned artists have enjoyed a behind-the-scenes perspective of the agency, often working directly with the astronauts, scientists, and other personnel who have shaped its missions and programs. Some watched Neil Armstrong “suit up” for his mission to the moon, or, more recently, witnessed contact with Mars rovers from mission control rooms.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2008, NASA is collaborating with SITES and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (NASM) on NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration.

Drawn from works in NASA and NASM’s archives that range from the illustrative to the abstract, the exhibition features approximately 50 paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, and other media by such artists as Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Doug and Mike Starn, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, and Jamie Wyeth.

Exhibitors will also receive a copy of the companion book of the same title (Abrams, 2008), which was featured in the New York Times Book Review, December 7, 2008.

" . . . the theme of space exploration never ceases to fascinate." —Steven Heller, New York Times Book Review

NASA’s historic triumphs and pioneering legacy are well known to millions, but the inspiring rocket launches, moon landings and planetary explorations also have had an impact on the imaginations of America’s leading artists. As the space agency turns 50 this fall, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will launch a national tour of NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration, featuring 73 works from those artists.

NASA | ART opens at the Art League of Bonita Springs in Bonita Springs, Fla., Oct. 25. It will be on view there through Jan. 17, 2009, and then travel to 10 museums through 2011.

The exhibition is organized by SITES and NASA in cooperation with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. It features nearly five decades of creations by artists as diverse as Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Norman Rockwell, Doug and Mike Starn, Andy Warhol and William Wegman. Drawn from the collections of NASA and the National Air and Space Museum, the exhibition includes drawings, photographs, sculpture and other art forms and media. These works—ranging from the illustrative to the abstract—offer unparalleled insight into the private and personal moments, triumphant victories and tragic accidents that form the storied history of NASA.

For example, in Henry Caselli’s “When Thoughts Turned Inward,” the artist captures the serene, almost spiritual moment before takeoff, when an astronaut must prepare mentally for a mission. In Chakaia Booker’s “Remembering Columbia,” the tragedy and pain of the lost Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew are transformed in the twisting tire remnants preserved from one of the shuttle’s earlier missions. And Andy Warhol melds Buzz Aldrin’s historic steps on the lunar surface with the unbridled exuberance and flashiness of the 1960s in his neon-highlighted “Moonwalk” silkscreen.

The works featured in the exhibit date from the inception of the NASA Art Program in 1962, when NASA administrator James E. Webb asked a group of artists to illustrate, interpret and elucidate the space agency’s missions and projects. Since then, painters, musicians and conceptual artists have been with NASA every step of the way, strolling along launch pads, training in flight simulators, talking with engineers and technicians and visiting with astronauts before and after their flights.

A companion book complements the national traveling exhibition. NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration will be published in fall 2008 by Harry N. Abrams.
NASA was established by Congress in 1958 “to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes.” The agency is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 10 field centers and other facilities across the nation. NASA’s mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.

The National Air and Space Museum, composed of the flagship building on the National Mall in Washington and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., is home to the world’s finest collection of flight artifacts. From aircraft and space vehicles to engines, art and models, the wide array of the museum’s holdings tells the story of the history and technology of air and space exploration. The museum is also a key resource for research into the history, science and technology of aviation and space flight.


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