"Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography" Opens July 3

Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography to Explore Representations of the Moon from the Dawn of Photography through the Present

Neil Armstrong (American, 1930–2012). Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. Walks on the Surface of the Moon, Apollo 11, July 16-24 1969, 1969
Neil Armstrong (American, 1930–2012). Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. Walks on the Surface of the Moon, Apollo 11, July 16-24 1969, 1969, printed later. Dye transfer print, 16 1/8 x 16 3/8 in. (41 x 41.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2017

Exhibition Dates:
July 3–September 22, 2019

Exhibition Location:
The Met Fifth Avenue, Floor 2, Galleries 691–93, The Charles Z. Offin Gallery, Karen B. Cohen Gallery, Harriette and Noel Levine Gallery; Gallery 851, Joyce and Robert Menschel Hall for Modern Photography; and Gallery 852, The Howard Gilman Gallery

On July 20, 1969, half a billion viewers around the world watched as the Apollo 11 mission beamed back to earth the first television footage of American astronauts on the moon. This groundbreaking moment dramatically influenced the history of images and expanded the bounds of human perception. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present visual representations of the moon from the dawn of photography through the present in the exhibition Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography. Opening on July 3, the show will feature more than 170 photographs together with a selection of related drawings, prints, paintings, films, video art, astronomical instruments, and cameras that traveled to space on the Apollo 11 mission.

The exhibition is made possible in part by the Enterprise Holdings Endowment.
 
Apollo's Muse will trace the progress of astronomical photography and attempts to produce ever-sharper images of the moon. Highlights will include two newly discovered lunar daguerreotypes from the 1840s, believed to be the earliest existing photographs of the moon, and works by such pioneers of lunar photography as Warren De La Rue (1815–1889), Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816–1892), and John Adams Whipple (1822–1891). A stunning photographic atlas of the moon, produced at the Paris Observatory between 1894 and 1908 by the astronomers Maurice Loewy (1833–1907) and Pierre Puiseux (1855–1928), will be displayed for the first time in its entirety. 
 
Alongside these scientific achievements, the show will explore the use of the camera to create fanciful depictions of space travel and life on the moon, including George Méliès's (1861–1938) original drawings for his film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune, 1902) and a large selection of "paper moon" studio portraits from the early 20th century. Also featured will be artists' evocations of the otherworldly effects of moonlight, including major works by German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840) and American Pictorialist photographer Edward Steichen (1879–1973).
 
Advances in rocket science and the Cold War space race of the 1960s ushered in a new phase of lunar exploration. The exhibition will feature stunning photographs captured by early lunar expeditions sent by the Soviet and American space programs, culminating in the crewed missions of the Apollo program. The final section of the show will focus on art created in the wake of the 1969 Moon landing through the present day, including works by Nancy Graves (1940–1995), Aleksandra Mir (born 1967), Nam June Paik (1932–2006), and Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008).
 
Apollo's Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography is organized by Mia Fineman, Curator in the Department of Photograph, with contributions by Beth Saunders, Curator and Head of Special Collections and Gallery, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators and an introduction by Tom Hanks, a lifelong space enthusiast who has celebrated the legacy of Project Apollo as both an actor and documentary film producer.
 
The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
 
Related Programs
 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a variety of education programs, including Art and Space, a week-long art-making workshop in the galleries, led by artist Jessica Houston (July 8–12, 11–4 pm daily). In conjunction with the exhibition, Apollo's Muse: Art and Space, will invite teens to explore careers in the arts with creative professionals as part of the Museum's Career Labs program (July 12, 5–6:30 pm).
 
The exhibition will be featured on The Met's website, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MetApollosMuse.

 

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