The relationship between the arts and sciences, to some, may resemble that of oil and water. One captures the nature of the universe through objective reason and data, while the other relies on expression of emotion and divergence of perception. At this intersection, however, lays a rich visual history that continues to bring the far reaches of the known universe closer to home.
The earliest movement for collaboration between art and science at NASA came to fruition in the creation of the NASA Art Program in 1962, just four years after the agency’s establishment. NASA Administrator James Webb expressed his interest in creating a NASA art program to commemorate both past and future events. At a time when humankind was just beginning to venture into space, Webb recognized the importance of capturing the emotions of exploration, such as excitement and uncertainty, in a way in which history could look back and fully appreciate all that the agency had achieved.
The artwork created through the NASA Art Program shaped the stories of early spaceflight into a popular American mythology, one that inspires a sense of national pride and shared accomplishment. As Dean remarked, “The artists were really missionaries for NASA. I mean, they were carrying the message out like nothing else would.”
Join us for Out of This World: A Celebration of Outer Space, Astronauts, and Space Travel as we explore NASA memorabilia from the Johnson Space Center and an exhibit of work inspired by the NASA space program from artists Alan Bean, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Paul Calle and others.
This exhibit is made possible by the Helen Jones Foundation.