Ticket to the Moon

Thomas Thyrion, untitled, 2015/16, watercolor, oil and collage on cardboard, 24,3x16,3 cm


“Far above the Moon

Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do”

(David Bowie, Space Oddity, 1969)

The moon, sung of by poets, painted by artists, a place of yearning, of magical forces. The face of the moon, a light in the night, a poetic metaphor and a visual projection, as it were, of the human desire to discover and explore the world beyond our planet. The “Sputnik shock” of the 1950s started the space race between the two superpowers USSR and USA. Who would be first to land on the moon? NASA eventually accomplished the feat in 1969. Neil Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the moon and to raise the American flag there.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” (Neil Armstrong)

On July 21, 1969, millions of people all over the world were watching the images in front of their TV sets—a media event that left a lasting impression on an entire generation. 2019 now marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The Kunsthalle Krems takes this as an occasion for a multifaced exhibition on the subject of the moon.

Entitled Ticket to the Moon, the show is dedicated to artistic comments on the moon landing and to the moon as a symbol of human dreams, desires, and speculation. Featured in it are works from the time when the race to the moon started in the 1950s, direct reactions to the moon landing after 1969, and also very recent positions of younger artists. The exhibition starts with Hans Bischoffshausen’s work Rückseite des Mondes (1960/61) and moves on to Robert Indiana’s critical reflection on NASA’s involvement with Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun in Der Mond – Die Braunschaft (1969) and Robert Rauschenberg’s lithographic response to the moon landing, Air Pocket (Stoned Moon) (1970). The central focus of the exhibition, however, is on works of younger artists like Sonja Leimer, Wendelin Pressl, Nives Widauer, Larissa Leverenz, and Andreas Werner. The younger generation’s take on the subject of the moon is highly diverse, stylistically and theoretically. Positions range from subtle reworkings of NASA photographs to ironic comments on the blind faith in technology. In part, the works will be created especially for the exhibition. The broad spectrum of contemporary artistic expressions provides an occasion to think about why now, 50 years after the moon landing, the subject still (or again) seems so topical.

The art positions will be expanded with an area of historical documentation in the show. On view will be photographs from the collection of Peter Coeln of the moon landing and the way to get there, of astronauts and cosmonauts. The Vienna Natural History Museum supports the show with a loan of a lunar meteorite, and a model of the Sputnik satellite will be provided by the Vienna Technical Museum.

Curator: Andreas Hoffer

Artists exhibited: Jeremy Bakker, Hans Bischoffshausen, Herbert Brandl, Aleksandra Cieślewicz, Agnes Fuchs, Robert Indiana, Dona Jalufka, Sonia Leimer, Larissa Leverenz, Mahony, Jonathan Meese, Aleksandra Mir, Nick Oberthaler, Wendelin Pressl, Robert Rauschenberg, Thomas Riess, Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch, Sebastian Speckmann, Andreas Werner and Nives Widauer.