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Fly Me to the Moon celebrates the golden jubilee of the first moon landing

The Museum der Moderne Salzburg is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing through the exhibition Fly Me to the Moon, on display until November 3, 2019.

by Sukanya Garg Sep 23, 2019

The exhibition Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg is celebrating the golden jubilee of the first moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, when Commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to ever set foot on the lunar surface. While his was a more physical journey on the moon, artists across the world throughout time have traversed the lunar realm in their creative works. The lunar luminescence has been a constant muse, affecting, and inspiring directly people’s emotions, energies, and pursuits.

Rosa Barba, The Color Out of Space, 2015, HD video (colour, sound), 5 coloured glass filters, steel base | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
Rosa Barba, The Color Out of Space, 2015, HD video (colour, sound), 5 coloured glass filters, steel base Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist, Berlin

The exhibition (which opened on July 20, 2019), then is a voyage into the history of creative outputs inspired by the moon. Including around 280 exhibits, the show is an amalgamation of historical narratives, scientific documentation and photographs along with artworks that include paintings, video works, multimedia installations and prints and photos.

Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg Image Credit: Rainer Iglar

The exhibition focuses on visual art from the 20th and 21st century, complemented by excursions into the history of science, literature, and music from the 17th century to the present. Thematically, the exhibition is divided into three sections - the first related to the investigation of the moon, its surface, and its influence over man and nature; the second being the conquest of the moon, with the drama and heroics of space travel; and the third surveying how human perspectives on the moon have shifted, with utopian projects for lunar colonies, the cultural discourse on earth’s pull and zero gravity, and the growing understanding of how sensitive our home planet’s climate is.

Yinka Shonibare CBE, Space Walk, 2002, Screen printed cotton fabric, fiberglass, plywood, vinyl, plastic, steel | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
Yinka Shonibare CBE, Space Walk, 2002, Screen printed cotton fabric, fiberglass, plywood, vinyl, plastic, steel Image Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

According to Thorsten Sadowsky, the director of Museum der Moderne Salzburg, “The moon has exerted an enormous fascination on humans for millennia, and in this exhibition, we use the anniversary of the lunar landing as an opportunity to explore how the moon and the voyage to it as a theme and challenge to the imagination has inspired artists for centuries. Seeing the earth from space for the first time created an unprecedented awareness of the fragility of our existence; the blue planet itself became a key emblem of life and its vulnerability, with a correspondingly large presence in visual art.”

Yves Klein, Relief Planétaire RP8, 1961, Synthetic resin, painted, on wood, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1973 | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
Yves Klein, Relief Planétaire RP8, 1961, Synthetic resin, painted, on wood, Kunsthaus Zürich, 1973 Image Credit: Courtesy of Kunsthaus Zürich

Perhaps then, it may be no surprise if a visit to the show brings back the faint melody of Sinatra cooing, “Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars …”. 

The exhibition has been conceptualised by Cathérine Hug from Kunsthaus Zürich and co-curated by Thorsten Sadowsky with Christina Penetsdorfer and Tina Teufel from the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

  • Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later</em>, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
    Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg Image Credit: Rainer Iglar
  • Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later</em>, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg | Museum der Moderne Salzburg | STIR
    Fly Me to the Moon. The Lunar Landing, 50 Years Later, exhibition view, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg Image Credit: Rainer Iglar

Most of the works in the exhibition have come from the art collection of Kunsthaus Zürich, complemented with a selection from the Museum der Moderne Salzburg. Some others have been loaned from other institutions, including the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, Moscow; the Berliner Sparkasse; the Bröhan-Museum Berlin, Landesmuseum für Jugendstil, Art Deco und Funktionalismus; the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel; the Tate, London; the UBS Art Collection, Zurich; the Zabludowicz Collection, London; the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek; and several private collectors.

The exhibition is on display at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg until November 3, 2019.

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About Author

Sukanya Garg

Sukanya Garg

Garg is an artist and writer with a Master's degree in Public Policy from Duke University, USA. She has been involved in research, planning and execution of gallery exhibitions and external projects in collaboration with curators. Her writing has been published in several art magazines, journals and as part of curatorial notes and catalogues, and her work has been showcased at multiple exhibitions.

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