Home Lifestyle Jeff Koons Sculptures Hitch Ride on SpaceX Rocket to the Moon

Jeff Koons Sculptures Hitch Ride on SpaceX Rocket to the Moon

Jeff Koons Sculptures Hitch Ride on SpaceX Rocket to the Moon


The American artist Jeff Koons watched as a SpaceX rocket carrying 125 of his miniature moon sculptures and other cargo departed from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the early morning on Thursday.

SpaceX estimates that a lunar lander, which was designed by Intuitive Machines and separated from the rocket after takeoff, will reach the moon in about a week if all goes as planned. The lander holds Koons’s artwork and NASA equipment including a stereo camera and radio receiver.

“I grew up listening to President Kennedy speak about going to the moon,” Koons said in an interview before takeoff. “It gave our society a vision and drive that we could believe in ourselves and accomplish things.”

Koons thought his stainless steel sculptures would reach space by the end of 2022, but the project has had several stops and starts, including a setback this week. Scientists had delayed launching the Falcon 9 rocket after they noticed an issue with the methane propellant.

“It happened at the very last minute,” Koons said. As methane was being loaded into the spacecraft, “the temperature was a little higher than they wanted.”

The artist said the project was inspired by his son Sean Koons, who approached him with the idea after seeing a proposal to send artworks to the moon. The project involved the digital arts and technology company NFMoon and the space exploration company 4Space, as well as support from Pace Gallery.

Koons is one of the most recognizable artists in the United States, whose sentimental sculptures have elated and infuriated critics by equal measure. But the art market has consistently backed his efforts. In 2019, his silver bunny sculpture sold for more than $91 million during a Christie’s auction. The 1986 sculpture, fabricated to look like a balloon rabbit, became one of the highest-selling artworks by a contemporary artist.

The artist said that launching his miniature moons was only phase one. Two other components of the project will remain on Earth: a larger version of each sculpture encased in glass that collectors can take home, and a corresponding NFT showing the installation of the lunar landing.

The moons are named after inspiring historical figures. “Leonardo da Vinci, Ada Lovelace, Plato, Billie Holiday,” Koons said, as he listed examples.

Other artists have attempted to conquer space, only to have their artworks disappear into its vastness. Trevor Paglen launched a $1.5 million satellite called “Orbital Reflector” in a 2018 collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art. But the project soon fell victim to a government shutdown that prevented engineers from keeping in contact with the satellite.

Should the lunar lander carrying the Koons sculptures reach its destination, it would be the first authorized artwork on the moon. Koons believes it would stand in perpetuity as a heritage site according to the Artemis Accords, which protects historically important sites and artifacts in outer space.


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