NASA: savvy art collector

Turns out NASA hasn’t been focusing all its energy on poking around in space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has also been creating a unique and, now, very valuable art collection.

Chirs and Batty Explore Space, by Willam Wegman

Chip and Batty Explore Space, by William Wegman. Courtesy NASA Art Program

 

It started back in 1962 with the creation of the NASA Art Program and ever since then the agency has been inviting well known artists to document the space program.

The work includes paintings, drawings photographs, sculptures and other media by the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, William Wegman (above) and Jamie Wyeth.

Curious to see what they’ve got? Starting Saturday, May 28, 2011, more than 70 pieces from the collection go on view in Washington, D.C. at the National Air and Space Museum.

Here are a few more samples:
Grissom and Young, by Norman Rockwell

This 1965 painting by Norman Rockwell shows astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom suiting up for the first flight of the Gemini program in March 1965. As in the William Wegman photo above, NASA loaned Norman Rockwell a spacesuit so the work would be as accurate as possible.

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Liftoff at 15 seconds by Jack Perlmutter, 1982

Space Shuttle Columbia rises from Kennedy Space Center on its third flight into space, on March 22, 1982.

These and close to 70 other space-related art pieces from NASA’s collection are on display as part of NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. May 28 – October 9, 2011.

Thanks, NASA!

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