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
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |