Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

50 Years of Exploration @ NASM – Washington

28/05/2011 - 09/10/2011


Having traveled around the US for the last 2 years (Florida, LA, Texas, Colorado, Arizona…) “Nasa / Art: 50 years of exploration” is now being exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC until early October.

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. When the space agency turned 50 a couple of years ago the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) launched the Nasa-Art exhibition which features 73 works from those artists (photographs, paintings, and works on paper, sculpture, audio art, mixed media).

Grissom and Young by Norman Rockwell, 1965, Oil on canvas

And with the end of the Space Shuttle just a few days ago (3 decades out there) and the accelerated negotiations for the US expenditure cuts many voices have questioned the utility and future of the most famous Space Agency worldwide. Will they now prepare for Mars? Will they ever have the budget to redesign a new aircraft?

For now, let’s focus on the art that has surrounded the agency over the last 50 years….

Gemini Launch Pad by James Wyeth, 1964, watercolor on paper

The exhibition 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.

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.

Sunrise Suit-up by Martin Hoffman, 1988, mixed media

Works of artists who couldn’t travel out there, but maybe with the next generation of spacecrafts, artists will be invited themselves to portrait the astronauts, cosmonauts and the stars themselves…


Event Categories:
Event Tags:
, ,


National Air and Space Museum
Independence Ave at 6th Street, SW
Washington DC, WA DC 20597 United States