Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spaced Out Pictures

During a recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center, east of Orlando, Florida, I accidentally came upon an amazing art gallery. NASA has been commissioning artists to represent rocket launches and other aspects of KSC activity since 1962. Who knew?

Andy Warhol: Moonwalk

Tucked away, hidden would not be too strong, behind the popcorn-perfumed lobby of the IMAX theaters is a lovely two-story display of visual arts. I spent over an hour perusing about a hundred pieces in this secret gallery. The $30 admission fee to get into the space center is a pretty high barrier just to see some nice pictures, but if you ever do visit the space center, look for this display! It is not listed on any brochures of “attractions” so you have to know it is there.

Rollout, Columbia.
Martin Hoffman

(Note the white-painted center fuel tank. After the first couple of shuttle flights, NASA stopped painting the tank, to save weight).


Dan Namingha

The picture does not do justice to the wonderful Navajo colors. The theme is also terrific, maybe something like "You are pretty smart to be floating in space, but the gods are all around you anyway." (They were always there, always will be there).

Great painting, large, impressive.
Sorry I did not get the details, and the online NASA images are virtually unsearchable.

This is a nice Peter Max work from 1987. There were surprisingly few abstract representations in the collection. NASA claims to have started this art program because the photographs, while extensive, were not capturing the "excitement." But ironically, many of the works they collected strive for realism, like the first example above. I tend to prefer abstraction.

Another Warhol. This one actually might be the famous "Moonwalk," not the first picture, above. Excuse my poor documentation.

There were many other amazing works of art by many artists, some famous, some not, all worth seeing.

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