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'Fly Me to the Moon: The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later' opens at Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Yinka Shonibare CBE, Spacewalk, 2002. Screen printed cotton fabric, fiberglass, plywood, vinyl, plastic, steel. Stephen Friedman Gallery, London © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2019.

SALZBURG.- Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later will whisk the Museum der Moderne Salzburg’s visitors off on a fantastic voyage into the rich history of creative engagements with the moon. The show’s narrative arc is anchored by the titular lunar landing half a century ago, the first time a human set foot on the moon, framed by excursions into the histories of science and art and an examination of the wide-ranging consequences of this watershed event. Around 280 exhibits, from copperplate prints and paintings to photographs, works of video art, and multimedia installations, reflect the diverse—scientific, artistic, philosophical, and utopian—meanings that the moon has held for humans. The majority of the works date from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; many come from the outstanding collection of our cooperation partner the Kunsthaus Zürich, complemented by loans from other institutions and a selection from the Museum der Moderne Salzburg’s own holdings. “The moon has exerted an enormous fascination on humans for millennia, and in this exhibition, we use the anniversary of the lunar landing as an opportunity to explore how the moon and the voyage to it as a theme and challenge to the imagination have inspired artists for centuries. Seeing the Earth from space for the first time created an unprecedented awareness of the fragility of our existence; the blue planet itself became a key emblem of life and its vulnerability, with a correspondingly large presence in visual art,” notes Thorsten Sadowsky, director of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

The tour opens with a chapter of the exhibition dedicated to the moon’s significance in history, from Galileo Galilei to classic modernism. The works on view in this section date from a time when taking a stroll on the moon’s surface was no more than a wishful fantasy. Technical achievements such as the telescope at least made it possible to subject the Earth’s satellite to detailed observation, as numerous works of art attest. The exhibition’s second chapter is devoted to the epoch-making event of July 20, 1969, and the political and technological developments that led up to it. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union had successfully launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite, into orbit, provoking the so-called “Sputnik shock” in the West and triggering what became known as the space race with the United States. As Fly Me to the Moon illustrates, both political systems’ space programs were flanked by extensive propaganda campaigns that resonated in visual art. The third and final chapter turns the spotlight on the lunar landing’s aftereffects, scrutinizing the figure of the astronaut as a model of masculinity, while a special display on “Afronauts” showcases the geographical diversity of lunar and space programs.

With works by Darren Almond (1971 Appley Bridge, GB―London, GB), Kader Attia (1970 Dugny, FR―Berlin, DE), Hans Baluschek (1870 Breslau, PL―1935 Berlin, DE), Nuotama Frances Bodomo (1988 Accra, GH), Coop Himmelb(l)au (founded in 1968 by Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer in Vienna, AT), Robert Delauny (1885 Paris, FR―1941 Montpellier, FR), Cristina de Middel (1975 Alicante, ES―Uruapan, MX), Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov (1964 Moskau, RU / 1963 Moskau, RU―Milan, IT), Max Ernst (1891 Brühl, DE―1976 Paris, FR), Nir Evron (1974 Herzeliya, IL―Tel Aviv, IL), Sylvie Fleury (1961 Geneva, CH), Lucio Fontana (1899 Rosario de Santa Fe, AR―1968 Varese, IT), Johann Heinrich Füssli (1741 Zürich, CH―1825 Putney Hill, London, GB), Hannah Höch (1889 Gotha, DE―1978 Berlin, DE), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 Aschaffenburg, DE―1938 Davos, CH), Kiki Kogelnik (1935 Bleiburg, AT―1997 Vienna, AT), David Lamelas (1946 Buenos Aires, AR―New York, NY, US, and Brussels, BE), Fritz Lang (1890 Vienna, AT―1976 Beverly Hills, CA, US), Lena Lapschina (1965 Kurgan, RU―Vienna, AT), Sonia Leimer (1977 Meran, IT―Vienna, AT), Zilla Leutenegger (1968 Zürich, CH), René Magritte (1898 Lessines, BE―1967 Brussel, BE), Georges Méliès (1861 Paris, FR―1938 Paris, FR), Pierre Mennel (1964 Zürich, CH), Jyoti Mistry (1970 Durban, ZA―Göteborg, SE), Gianni Motti (1958 Sondrio, IT―Geneva, CH), Edvard Munch (1863 Loiten / Hedmark, NO―1944 Ekely / Oslo, NO), Amalia Pica (1978 Neuquén, AR―London, GB), Robert Rauschenberg (1925 Port Arthur, TX, US―2008 Captiva Island, FL, US), Werner Reiterer (1964 Leibnitz, AT―Vienna, AT), Thomas Riess (1970 Zams, AT―Vienna, AT), Pipilotti Rist (1962 Grabs, CH―Zürich, CH), Michael Sailstorfer (1979 Velden, AT―Berlin, DE), Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 Neuilly-sur-Seine, FR―2002 La Jolla, CA, US), Tom Sachs (1966 New York, NY, US), Roman Signer (1938 Appenzell, CH―St. Gallen, CH), Yinka Shonibare (1962 London, GB), Andrei Sokolov (1931 Leningrad, RU―2007 St. Petersburg, RU), Nedko Solakov (1957 Cherven Briag, BG―Sofia, BG), Andy Warhol (1928 Pittsburgh, PA, US―1987, New York, NY, US), Nives Widauer (1965 Basel, CH―Vienna, AT) and others.

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