Akron Art Museum Considers Fact and the Fantastic in The Distance of the Moon

For Release: October 29, 2019

Akron—Would you go to the moon and back to see a work of art? What if the artwork went to the moon and you could see it in a nearby museum? While it may seem like science fiction, it is true that in 1969 six artists and an unidentified collaborator, operating under the name Experiments in Art and Technology, snuck The Moon Museum, a ceramic tile about the size of a thumbnail onto the Apollo 12 lander. The tile displayed images created by the six artists, and became the means by which the first works of art reached the moon’s surface. While The Moon Museum that traveled with Apollo 12 stayed on the moon, a rare, original edition of the tile with artwork by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers, David Novros and John Chamberlain will be on view in The Distance of the Moon, a new exhibition opening on Saturday, November 9, 2019.

Curator of Collections Annie Wischmeyer said, “Fact blends with fiction in this exhibition, exploring the ways in which science and art have mutually informed each other. Long before man set foot on the moon, artists and authors were imagining the methods we might use to get there and what we might find. While a species of migratory lunar bird remained the stuff of fantasy, the preposterous (at the time) suggestion of rocket travel by playwright Cyrano de Bergerac in 1638, proved to become a scientific reality.”

Georges Méliès early film, Le voyage dans la lune (1902) and Robert Longo’s striking study Untitled (Moon in Shadow) (2006), illustrate the moon’s power as an object of creative inspiration. In The Distance of the Moon, moody nocturnes and celebratory depictions are shown alongside early stereographs of the moon, made possible by the most advanced photographic technology of the day. Using images from exploratory missions to the moon, Nancy Graves created an immersive, meditative film on surface textures and sonic space. Over forty years in the making, James Turrell has slowly transformed a dormant volcano in the Arizona desert into a transcendent architectural space for observing the moon and other heavenly bodies.

Astronauts mingle with winged moon men in The Distance of the Moon, which combines historic prints, modern images taken by NASA and contemporary artworks, providing an enhanced portrait of the moon as it has informed our scientific and imaginative consciousness.

The Distance of the Moon is on view at the Akron Art Museum from November 9, 2019 through March 15, 2020.

The Distance of the Moon programming
Thursday, November 14 • 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Art Talk and Tour of The Moon Museum with Jade Dellinger
Delllinger is the Director of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida Southwestern State College.
Free and open to the public • Registration is required at AkronArtMuseum.org/eventregistration

The Distance of the Moon is organized by the Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council and the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.