The Sculpture on the Moon
By Corey S. Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro | Slate
Scandals and conflicts obscured one of the most extraordinary achievements of the Space Age.
“Bigger Than Picasso”
One crisp March morning in 1969, artist Paul van Hoeydonck was visiting his Manhattan gallery when he stumbled into the middle of a startling conversation. Louise Tolliver Deutschman, the gallery’s director, was making an energetic pitch to Dick Waddell, the owner. “Why don’t we put a sculpture of Paul’s on the moon,” she insisted. Before Waddell could reply, van Hoeydonck inserted himself into the exchange: “Are you completely nuts? How would we even do it?”
Deutschman stood her ground. “I don’t know,” she replied, “but I’ll figure out a way.”
At 12:18 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Aug. 2, 1971, Commander David Scott of Apollo 15 placed a 3 1/2-inch-tall aluminum sculpture onto the dusty surface of a small crater near his parked lunar rover. At that moment the moon transformed from an airless ball of rock into the largest exhibition space in the known universe. Scott regarded the moment as tribute to the heroic astronauts and cosmonauts who had given their lives in the space race. Van Hoeydonck was thrilled that his art was pointing the way to a human destiny beyond Earth and expected that he would soon be “bigger than Picasso.”
In reality, van Hoeydonck’s lunar sculpture, called Fallen Astronaut, inspired not celebration but scandal. Within three years, Waddell’s gallery had gone bankrupt. Scott was hounded by a congressional investigation and left NASA on shaky terms. Van Hoeydonck, accused of profiteering from the public space program, retreated to a modest career in his native Belgium. Now both in their 80s, Scott and van Hoeydonck still see themselves unfairly maligned in blogs and Wikipedia pages—to the extent that Fallen Astronaut is remembered at all.
Close-up of Fallen Astronaut. (Slate)
And yet, the spirit of Fallen Astronaut is more relevant today than ever. Google is promoting a $30 million prize for private adventurers to send robots to the moon in the next few years; companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are creating a new for-profit infrastructure of human spaceflight; and David Scott is grooming Brown University undergrads to become the next generation of cosmic adventurers.
Governments come and go, public sentiment waxes and wanes, but the dream of reaching to the stars lives on. Fallen Astronaut does, too, hanging eternally 238,000 miles above our heads. Here, for the first time, we tell the full, tangled tale behind one of the smallest yet most extraordinary achievements of the Space Age.
Bruce Gitlin of Milgo/Bufkin recalls a series of stranger and more enigmatic encounters with government agents. After working on a small initial batch of Fallen Astronaut replicas, “I got a call from someone at NASA who said that I better cease and desist from any other work on the moon man project,” he says. “I asked, ‘Why?’ They said, ‘Because we’re telling you so.’ It was like, ‘If you don’t do it, you’re going to be in trouble with the government.’ ”
Read the full article at: slate.com
Top Image Source: NASA
Fallen Astronaut sculpture: Moon, Hadley Rille. Paul Van Hoeydonck. Wikipedia.
Red Ice Radio:
Gavan Kearney - Hour 1 - The State of the Art, Corrosive Counter-Culture & Attack on Beauty
Neil Hague - Control of the Art Industry, The Old World Order, The Age of Leo & The Awakening Sun
Robert Newman - The Mozart Myth
Robert Newman - The Rise of the Modern Music Industry
Radio 3Fourteen - Jon Rappoport - The Artist Against the System
Mike Bara - Dark Mission, The Occult NASA Moon Mission
Jay Weidner - Kubrick’s Odyssey: How Stanley Faked the Moon Landings & Alchemical Kubrick: The Great Work On Film
Alfred Webre - Exopolitics, NASA Bombing of the Moon, Outer Space Treaty & E. T.
Marcus Allen - Nexus Magazine, Technology in Ancient Egypt, The Moon Landing & Collective Amnesia
Ted Twietmeyer - What NASA Isn’t Telling You About Mars
Peter Levenda - Secret Space Program & NASA
Fallen Astronaut - Wikipedia
Ground zero Bible brought to Aurora memorial "It has power...energy"
NASA Hid Aldrin’s Moon Communion
NASA’s Altered Photos and Buzz Aldrin
The 9/11 Monument on Mars
Latest News from our Front Page
Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism.
The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself.
Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century
Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated.
The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya?
Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011.
Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
|More News » |