On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Cape Canaveral on its historic mission to land on the moon. Forty years later, visitors to the Air and Space Museum have a unique opportunity of seeing the moon through the eyes of the only artist who has walked on its surface. Alan Bean, who served on the Apollo 12 mission later in 1969, was the fourth of only 11 men to walk on the moon. After 18 years as an astronaut, he resigned from NASA in 1981 to dedicate his life to painting his memories of the Apollo missions.
“Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World” showcases more than 50 works of art, along with some of the museum’s artifacts featured in the paintings—including a lunar rover, the Apollo 11 rock box that came back from the moon, and Bean’s Apollo 12 spacesuit and helmet—to present a firsthand account of one of humankind’s greatest achievements.
Bean employs an impressionistic style to depict lunar landscapes, portraits of fellow moonwalkers and views of Earth from space. In 1999, he began adding textures to his paintings. When preparing a panel for painting, he indents the surface with a moon boot, makes scrapes with a lunar rock hammer and grinds circles with a core bit. In 2001, he began adding to his paintings minute amounts of moon dust embedded in the keepsake patches from his spacesuit.
The exhibition is divided into eight thematic parts—Alan Bean: the Astronaut, Alan Bean: the Artist, Lunar Exploration, Mother Earth, Lunar Landscapes, Apollo Camaraderie, Homeward Bound, and Fantasy and Fun. It will be on display in the museum’s Flight in the Arts gallery until January 2010.
Posted: 21 July 2009