A small sector of conspiracy theorists speculate that man has never set foot on the moon. If that is out of their realm of belief, I’m guessing those naysayers and doubters certainly won’t buy the fact that there’s a mini modern art museum on the moon.
Another amazing fact about these tiny masterpieces is that they traveled into space without the official permission of NASA.
It seems, in 1969 during preparations for Apollo 12, an unnamed NASA engineer helped artist Forrest “Frosty” Myers with his plan to spread art into space. The engineer attached a very small iridium-plated ceramic wafer measuring just 3/4″ x 1/2″ x 1/40″ and including miniaturized reproductions of the artworks to a hatch on the leg of the Intrepid landing module while it was at Bell Laboratories. The Intrepid was left behind on the moon when the astronauts returned to Earth.
The artists whose works were included on the chip were no slouches. In addition to Myers, the other five creative minds who contributed doodles were Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, and John Chamberlain.
That’s right, there is a work by Warhol on the moon. No, it’s not another version of the ubiquitous Campbell’s soup can, but there are two different descriptions of Warhol’s lunar contribution. In a story in the New York Times in 1969 when Myers revealed his distribution of space art, the Warhol work was called “a calligraphic squiggle made up of the initials of his signature.” Others just say it looks like a penis, but that might have been too harsh a description to be printed for public consumption in 1969.
The Times story didn’t hit the stands until two days after Apollo 12 had left the moon, insuring that the space doodles would remain on the moon.
The chip wasn’t the only “art” on the moon’s surface on that historic trip in 1969. It seems some cheeky back-up crew members for the mission snuck some Playboy pictures into the astronauts’ checklists. Those nudes made a return trip to Earth...