Cassandra C. Jones, *Wax and Wane,* 2008.
Photo: Cassandra C. Jones, Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

6 Art and Design Exhibitions Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

From Matthew Day Jackson’s Kohlo furniture at Casa Perfect to Pierre Cardin’s Future Fashion at the Brooklyn Museum

On July 20, 1969, half a billion viewers around the world watched as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. This year marks the 50th anniversary of that momentous occasion, and Galerie has rounded up a number of ways to celebrate.

Kicking off the Apollo-related festivities is the reopening of the Apollo mission control center at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which has just undergone a three-year, $5 million overhaul to turn it into a museum. The room had been abandoned in 1992, according to the New York Times, with all operations moved to a modernized mission control center elsewhere in the building. The room is now considered a museum piece, with every item meticulously researched from archival photographs.

Read on for the best lunar-themed exhibitions and design launches in celebration.   

A version of the lunar-themed Kolho by Matthew Day Jackson, Formica and Made by Choice. Shown at Salone del Mobile earlier this year. Photo: Dominic Brown

1. Matthew Day Jackson’s Kohlo furniture at Casa Perfect

Multidisciplinary artist Matthew Day Jackson has now turned to furniture design, developing a Formica surface that subtly echoes the surface of the moon in an artful new collection of table and chairs. Dubbed Kohlo, the collection is a result of a collaboration between Jackson, Finnish design manufacturer Made by Choice and the Formica Group. A similar edition was presented during Milan Design Week earlier this year, and the collection is now on view at New York design gallery Casa Perfect this month. There will also be a “tie-dyed” stoneware dining collection by Laura Seymour. The debut at Casa Perfect will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, which took place on July 16, 1969.

When: July 17 through August

Where: Casa Perfect New York, 8 St. Luke’s Place, New York

Raquel Welch in a Pierre Cardin outfit. Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

2. Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion at the Brooklyn Museum

The excitement of space travel was a major inspiration for the legendary French couturier Pierre Cardin, whose bold, futuristic looks defined the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Timed with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing, this retrospective covers seven decades of his work and features 170 objects spanning couture, ready to wear, and accessories as well as his lesser-known foray into furniture and industrial design.

When: July 20–January 5, 2020

Where: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

Apollo 11 Original, first-generation NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA. Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby's

3. Space Exploration auction at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s is holding a pair of auctions to coincide with 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing. Omega Speedmaster: To the Moon and Back on July 19 will offer a selection of incredible Speedmaster watches, the official watch of NASA since 1965. Meanwhile, on July 20, the Space Exploration auction features the best surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which represent the earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon; it is on offer for $1 to $2 million.

When: July 20

Where: Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue, New York

Recommended: Go Behind the Scenes at Sotheby’s Remarkable ‘Treasures From Chatsworth’ Exhibition

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin Walking on the Surface of the Moon Near a Leg of the Lunar Module, 1969. Photo: Neil Armstrong, Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

4. Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The groundbreaking moment when the Apollo 11 mission beamed the first television footage of American astronauts on the moon influenced the history of images. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the New York institution showcases some of those visual representations of the moon from the dawn of photography through the present. Expect more than 170 photographs together with a selection of related drawings, prints, paintings, films, video art, astronomical instruments, and cameras used by Apollo astronauts.

When: Through September 22

Where: The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York

Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941. Photo: The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust, Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

5. Shooting the Moon: Photographs from the Museum’s Collection 50 Years after Apollo 11 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

This installation features 40 photographs, from imaginative 19th-century images with a lunar theme to modern masterpieces such as Ansel Adams’s classic Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.

When: July 20–September 2

Where: Museum of Fine Arts, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston

Artist Laurie Anderson and cocreator Hsin-Chien Huang’s “To the Moon,” a virtual reality experience. Photo: Courtesy of Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang

6. To the Moon at the Museum of Natural History 

An unprecedented virtual realty experience that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is on view at the American Museum of Natural History from July 20. Curated by artist Laurie Anderson and cocreator Hsin-Chien Huang, the 15-minute experience utilizes images and tropes from Greek mythology to politics to create an imaginary new version of the moon. Other activities include a digital re-creation of the lunar landing and talks with astrophysicists.

When:  July 20–28

Where: American Museum of Natural History,Central Park West and 79th Street, New York

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