The Sculpture on the Moon
2013 12 18
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
CIA torture is reason for France to exit NATO – Le Pen
The shocking revelations of CIA torture techniques give France a reason to exit NATO, National Front party leader Marine Le Pen said on Saturday. The report on the CIA’s former interrogation practices has drawn wide criticism since its release.
“If indeed everyone is outraged by the tortures used by the US then, let’s leave NATO,” Le Pen said during an interview ...
900 Documented Examples of Obama's Lawbreaking, Lying, Corruption, Cronyism, Hypocrisy & Waste
By Tim Brown from sonsoflibertymedia.com:
Our friend, Dan from Squirrel Hill, has updated his list to 900 documented examples of Barack Obama¡¯s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc. He began with 252 examples, then quickly grew to 504 and later to 694. Recently, he added more than 200 more examples of the usurper-in-chief¡¯s unlawful acts.
Every President, every politician, and every human ...
A Step Closer to the Mysterious Origin of the Viking Sword Ulfberht
2014 12 16
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.
Ulfberht was like a Medieval luxury brand for swords—but unlike your Gucci purse, the swords were of such high quality they were almost ...
Israel proposes natural gas pipeline to Southern Europe
Israel is pushing for the European Union (EU) to approve the construction of a pipeline running from the Middle Eastern country to supply Cyprus, Greece and Italy with natural gas. The proposed EastMed pipeline will carry gas from the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields located in the Mediterranean Sea, to Southern Europe. As the Times of Israel reported in an ...
As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up
2014 12 16
A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published.
Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there ...
|More News » |