Tuesday, August 08, 2006

art on the moon

The only piece of art on the Moon is Fallen Astronaut, an 8.5cm aluminum sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit.
It was created by Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck, who met astronaut David Scott at a dinner party. Van Hoeydonck was asked to create a small statuette to personally commemorate those astronauts and cosmonauts having lost their lives in the furtherance of space exploration. Van Hoeydonck was given a set of design restrictions: in addition to the physical requirements that the sculpture be both lightweight and sturdy, and that it be capable of withstanding the temperature extremes of the Moon, the statuette could not be identifiably male or female, nor of any identifiable ethnic group. Furthermore, in accordance with Scott's wish to avoid the commercialization of space, Van Hoeydonck's name would not be made public.

In 1971, Fallen Astronaut was placed on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 15, along with a plaque bearing the names of fourteen American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts who died during spaceflights or training exercises.

In 1972, against the crew and NASA’s wishes, Van Hoeydonck created 950 signed replicas of “Fallen Astronaut” and sold them for $750 a piece.


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