This large-scale Louisiana exhibition will explore the Moon as an artistic icon, symbol of longing and object of scientific inquiry. It leads up to the 50th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing and encompasses art, film, literature, architecture, design, natural history and historical objects.
In modern Western art, the Moon is a recurring subject of artistic investigation and interpretation, while the role of the Moon finds a more condensed expression in broader culture: the Moon as inspiration for mythologies and mysticism, thecause of “lunacy,” the object of scientific inquiry, a destination for science-fiction fantasies, and a concrete territory to be conquered and mined.
Our various images of the Moon bear witness to basic human impulses and ideologies. A symbol of romantic longing, on the one hand, and a natural stop for space missions, on the other – the Moon is both, an icon charged with meaning, where outer space and the inner world meet. The Louisiana’s exhibition explores how seemingly contradictory cultural impulses have become intertwined in the recent history of the Moon.
The first manned Moon landing, Apollo 11, in 1969 will be a thematic fulcrum of the exhibition: a temporary culmination of the deep-rooted cultural conceptions invested in the space race. The Moon landing was not just a technological achievement but a spectacular and thoroughly aestheticized event that was disseminated globally in images, and that was both anticipated and interpreted in art and the broader visual culture in the 1960s – from David Bowie’s music videos to Disney’s cartoons.