Some space art related items:

** The Color of the Moon is an exhibition at the Hudson River Museum

devoted to the allure of the moon for American painters, whose art has reflected the eternal fascination with our closest celestial body. It is the first major museum examination of the moon as it relates to the story of the American nocturne as it developed from the early 1810s through the late 1960s.

The BBC shows a tour of the exhibition with chief curator Laura Vookles: Why the Moon makes us all romantics – BBC News

The exhibition features more than 60 works of art, highlighting key painters who depicted the moon, from the early nineteenth-century masterpieces of Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, who embraced a kind of longing Romanticism that the astronomical body symbolized, to late works by famed illustrator Norman Rockwell, represented by his depictions of a long-held romantic yearning finally fulfilled–America’s triumphant lunar landing in 1969. All of the works in the exhibition underscore how the Romantic idea of the moon held an inexorable pull for artists, and was central to its depiction of landscape, a subject of ongoing engagement at the Museum.

“Oscar Florianus Bluemner (American, b. Germany, 1867–1938). Moon Radiance, 1927. Watercolor with gum coating on hot pressed off-white wove paper laid down by the artist to thick wood panel. Karen & Kevin Kennedy Collection. Photograph by Joshua Nefsky.”

“George Inness (American, 1825–1894). Winter Moonlight (Christmas Eve), 1866. Oil on canvas. Montclair Art Museum. Museum purchase; Lang Acquisition Fund, 1948 (1948.29).”

** Astronaut Nicole Stott describes painting in space during her stay on the ISS: What it’s like to paint in space—according to a NASA astronaut — Quartz

Nicole Stott displays a couple of her space paintings.

I grew up doing artsy crafty things, and as an adult—if I could find spare time—I would paint, do some woodworking, or tinker in the garden. Thankfully, before my first spaceflight, my crew support representative and friend Maryjane Anderson encouraged me to think about how I might spend some of my spare time while living for months in space. Thanks to her, I packed a small watercolor kit, and became the first person to paint a watercolor in space.

When people hear I’ve painted in space, they often comment about how it must have been fun to float in front of a window and paint whatever part of Earth I was looking at. And I agree, that would be great—if we weren’t for the fact that we’re passing over the planet at five miles a second. You literally wouldn’t get the brush to the paper before the thing you’re trying to paint would be out of sight. There’s no plein air painting in space.

** Trevor Paglen‘s Orbital Reflector not yet deployed in orbit due to problems identifying a dozen or so of the 64 smallsats released in the Falcon 9 launch last December: Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector art installation in limbo in outer space –

Paglen’s collaborators on the project, Nevada Museum of Art, require the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy the artwork. In a statement written during the US governmental shutdown, the museum explained that they were unable to receive the go-ahead from the government department.

Before permission can be granted, a division of the US Air Force must identify each of the 64 satellites. This task has not yet been completed, even though the government is now back up and running.

Regardless of the the shutdown, it has been difficult to track individual spacecraft with so many of them grouped together: Unidentified satellites reveal the need for better space tracking – The Verge

For some operators, it seems that they were able to get in touch with their satellite at the beginning of the flight when all the satellites were in one big blob and close together in space. But as the probes have spread apart in the last few months, it’s become more difficult to know where to point their communication equipment, since so many identities are still unknown. Some operators have had trouble hearing back from the satellites in recent months.

That seems to be the case for Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector — an art project that’s supposed to deploy a giant reflective balloon capable of being seen from Earth. In January, the team behind the satellite said that they had been in contact with the spacecraft, but that the government shutdown had impacted their ability to deploy the balloon. The website for the project states that the team still doesn’t have accurate orbital data for the satellite. “We are working to resolve these issues and will have more conclusive information to share in the near future,” Amanda Horn, a representative for the Nevada Museum of Art, said in a statement to The Verge.

See also: Orbital Reflector Status Report – Nevada Museum of Art (pdf).


First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience