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A trip to the moon - The Moon Museum (1969): Apollo XII’s Secret Art Mission exhibit at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery

August 27, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) is exhibiting the first-ever "Space Art" project, a work that has been essentially "top secret" since 1969.

Art and outer space enthusiasts in Southwest Florida have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see The Moon Museum a collection of drawings produced by a group of the most significant artists of the last century and surreptitiously sent to the Moon at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, from Aug. 22 to Sept. 27. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed Sundays and holidays.

"FSW is not only proud that the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery was renamed in the artist's honor a decade ago, but we're honored to have the opportunity to host this culturally and historically significant Rauschenberg-related project," said Dr. Jeff Allbritten, President of Florida SouthWestern State College. "We hope that students, alumni and members of the community will all take the time to see and find inspiration in this fascinating exhibition."

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The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) is exhibiting the first-ever “Space Art” project, a work that has been essentially “top secret” since 1969.

This display marks the opening of the upcoming season of Arts at FSW. "The Moon Museum (1969): Apollo XII's Secret Art Mission" is an experiment led by artists Bob Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and John Chamberlain, who have since passed away, and New York City artists Forrest Myers, David Novros and Claes Oldenburg.

Each of the six artists contributed drawings that were later transferred onto a handful of identical ceramic wafers using cutting-edge technology from the late 1960s. A paper-thin and postage-stamp-sized copy of The Moon Museum was then secretly attached to the Apollo XII lunar landing LEM 6 and has resided on the surface of the Moon for the last 45 years.

Forrest Myers, a sculptor and friend of Rauschenberg's, was inspired to propose The Moon Museum project as part of Experiments in Art & Technology, following the success of Apollo XI's historic moon landing. He decided to use his own work alongside pieces from artists that he admired.

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"Wanting nothing more than to put something soulful up where typically NASA had left detritus and hardware behind, nearly a half century later, The Moon Museum is still a compelling art object and continues to resonate profoundly in the imagination," according to Jade Dellinger, Director of Exhibitions & Collections at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery.

The exhibition opens Aug. 22 with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception at the gallery, 8099 College Parkway. Not only will visitors get a rare glimpse of an original Moon Museum ceramic tile, but vintage NASA press photographs, mission-related artifacts, and real film shot by Apollo XII astronauts will also be on display.

For more information about the gallery or upcoming events, visit or call 239-489-9313.



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