Moon Museum: Smuggling Thumb-Sized Art Into Outer Space
Moon Museum is a small ceramic wafer three-quarters of an inch by half an inch in size containing artworks by six prominent artists from the late 1960s: Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers, and Andy Warhol. The wafer, considered the first Space Art object, was supposedly covertly attached to a leg of the Intrepid landing module, and subsequently left on the moon during Apollo 12. Though it cannot be proven whether or not Moon Museum successfully made its trip unless another lunar mission occurs, many other personal effects were in fact smuggled onto the Apollo 12 lander and hidden in the layers of gold blankets that wrapped parts of the spacecraft. Forrest Myers, the artist who initially conceived of the project, gathered the other artists’ contributions and was helped by a scientist from Bell Laboratories, Fred Waldhauer, who etched the drawings onto ceramic wafer using techniques normally used to produce telephone circuits. Waldhauer also knew a Grunman Aircraft engineer who was working on the Apollo 12 landing module, and following NASA’s vacillation on the project, convinced him to secretly place the wafer on it. The Robert Rauschenberg’s piece is a single line in the top center. To its right is a black square with thin white lines intersecting, resembling a piece of circuitry, by David Novros. Below it is John Chamberlain’s work, a template pattern which also resembles circuitry. In the lower middle is Claes Oldenburg’s geometric variation on Mickey Mouse, a popular motif for the artist at the time. Myers created the work in the lower left, a computer-generated drawing of a “linked symbol” called “Interconnection.” Andy Warhol’s piece in the top left-hand corner, though ostensibly a stylized version of his initials, bears certain resemblance to a a crudely drawn penis.