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The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Takes a Look at Exploration
Vance Kirkland, "The Mysteries of Space".
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO.- The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center presents "NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration", through March 7, 2010, organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in cooperation with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

This exhibition has special relevance to the community given the large number of aerospace industries based here. Along with the many great works of art in this exhibition, the FAC has a tremendous line-up of ancillary programming from an innovative, site-specific video installation, to side exhibits by Colorado Springs legend Eric Bransby and Denver artists Monica Petty Aiello and Vance Kirkland as well as a film series, lectures, music, special Bemis classes and workshops and an educational interpretive space in the galleries.

NASA’s historic triumphs and pioneering legacy are well known to millions, but the inspiring rocket launches, moon landings and planetary explorations also have had an impact on the imaginations of America’s leading artists. “NASA | ART” features nearly five decades of creations by artists as diverse as Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, and William Wegman, featuring 73 works of art including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and other art forms and media. These works—ranging from the illustrative to the abstract—offer unparalleled insight into the private and personal moments, triumphant victories and tragic accidents that form the storied history of NASA.

For example, in Henry Caselli’s “When Thoughts Turned Inward,” the artist captures the serene, almost spiritual moment before takeoff, when an astronaut must prepare mentally for a mission. In Chakaia Booker’s “Remembering Columbia,” the tragedy and pain of the lost Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew are transformed in the twisting tire remnants preserved from one of the shuttle’s earlier missions. And Andy Warhol melds Buzz Aldrin’s historic steps on the lunar surface with the unbridled exuberance and flashiness of the 1960s in his neon-highlighted “Moonwalk” silkscreen.

In 1962, NASA asked a group of artists to illustrate, interpret and elucidate the space agency’s missions and projects beginning the NASA Art Program. Since then, painters, musicians and conceptual artists have been with NASA every step of the way, strolling along launch pads, training in flight simulators, talking with engineers and technicians and visiting with astronauts before and after their flights.

“Scientists, astronauts, and artists have one important quality in common,” said Smithsonian co-curator Bert Ulrich. “All share the inclination to explore, whether by means of scientific investigation, a mission to the moon, or a paint brush. These works of art provide a historical legacy for the public to behold. After all, art is often an important byproduct of any great era of history, including the space age.”


The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center | "NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration" | Bert Ulrich | Norman Rockwell | Andy Warhol | Annie Leibovitz |


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