Check Out These Stellar Pieces From The NASA Art Program

Just four years after NASA was established, the NASA Art Program sought to bring the arts and sciences together by inviting artists to record the history of the program in their unique fashion. In the 55 years since the program’s genesis, artists utilizing countless mediums have documented NASA’s triumphs and tragedies. More than 350 artists have contributed to the collection’s 2500 works, including performance artist Laurie Anderson, photographer Annie Liebovitz, graphic artists Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, and painters Norman Rockwell and Jamie Wyeth.

Check out a sample of the collection’s pieces below and view more at NASA’s Flickr.

First Steps
Artist: Mitchell Jamieson, 1963
Media: Acrylic, gauze, and paper on canvas
Description: In a silver-colored spacesuit, astronaut Gordon Cooper steps away from his Mercury spacecraft and into the bright sunlight on the deck of the recovery ship after 22 orbits of Earth. Mitchell Jamieson documented Cooper’s recovery and medical examination and accompanied him back to Cape Canaveral.
Image Credit: Mitchell Jamieson
All rights reserved
Courtesy: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Artist: Paul Calle, 1963
Media: Oil on panel
Description: This painting depicts the first seconds of lift-off of the Saturn V moon rocket.
Each of the 5 F-1 engines could encompass a full grown man standing up, and produced over 1.5 million pounds of thrust.
Image Credit: Paul Calle
All rights reserved

Gemini Launch Pad
Artist: James Wyeth, 1964
Media: Watercolor on paper
Description: In the early days of manned spaceflight, technicians responsible for a launch worked in a domed, concrete-reinforced blockhouse, protected from accidental explosions. Although surrounded by cutting-edge technology, the technicians relied on a bicycle for check-up trips to the launch pad.
Image Credit: James Wyeth
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Grissom and Young
Artist: Norman Rockwell, 1965
Description: Astronauts John Young and Gus Grissom are suited for the first flight of the Gemini program in March 1965. NASA loaned Norman Rockwell a Gemini spacesuit in order to make this painting as accurate as possible.
Image Credit: Norman Rockwell
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Saturn Blockhouse
Artist: Fred Freeman, 1968
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Description: As a participant in NASA’s art program, Fred Freeman gained unlimited access to space facilities during missions. Here, he shows us just how close he was, even depicting his coffee cup resting on the console.
Image Credit: Fred Freeman
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Sky Garden
Artist: Robert Rauschenberg, 1969
Media: Lithograph on canvas
Description: In 1969, Robert Rauschenberg was invited to witness one of the most significant social events of the decade: the launch of Apollo 11, the shuttle that would place man on the moon.
NASA provided Rauschenberg with detailed scientific maps, charts and photographs of the launch, which formed the basis of the Stoned moon series − comprising thirty-three lithographs printed at Gemini GEL.
The Stoned moon series is a celebration of man’s peaceful exploration of space as a ‘responsive, responsible collaboration between man and technology.’
The combination of art and science is something that Rauschenberg continued to investigate throughout the 1960s in what he calls his ‘blowing fuses period.’
Image Credit: Robert Rauschenberg
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Mike Collins
Artist: Paul Calle, 1969
Media: Felt tip pen on paper
Description: Paul Calle was the only artist with the Apollo 11 astronauts in the early morning hours of July 16, 1969, when they put on their spacesuits in preparation for the historic journey to land on the Moon.
Image Credit: Paul Calle
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Moon, Horizon & Flowers (Rocket Rollout)
Artist: Jack Perlmutter, 1969
Media: Oil on canvas
Description: The most advanced technology, along with the subtropical Florida landscape, provided a variety of interesting forms, shapes, and colors for visiting artists during the time of the Apollo Moon-landing program.
Image Credit: Jack Perlmutter
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Apollo 8 Coming Home
Artist: Robert T. McCall, 1969
Description: Human eyes directly observed the far side of the Moon for the first time on Christmas Eve 1968. Robert McCall imagines the sight of the rocket engine firing to propel the spacecraft out of lunar orbit for its return to Earth.
Image Credit: Robert T. McCall
All rights reserved
Courtesy: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

When Thoughts Turn Inwards
Artist: Henry Casselli, 1981
Media: Watercolor
Astronaut John Young reflects pensively as he suits up for launch on April 12, 1981. Casselli conveys a quiet, almost spiritual moment when the astronaut must mentally prepare for his mission.
This was the first time that the newly inaugurated space shuttle would carry humans, in this case the two-person crew of John Young and Robert Crippen.
Image Credit: Henry Casselli
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Liftoff At 15 Seconds
Artist: Jack Perlmutter, 1982
Media: Oill on canvas
Description: The Columbia Space Shuttle lifted off on March 22, 1982. Perlmutter depicted a parallel strip of tropical foliage, paying homage to the Florida landscape Columbia was leaving behind.
Image Credit: Jack Perlmutter
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program

Moonwalk 1
Artist: Andy Warhol, 1987
Media: Silkscreen on paper
Description: The famous image of astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing on the Moon has become an icon of popular culture. The American hero with the U.S. flag became material for Warhol’s silkscreen series of nationally known images printed on vibrant, retro, poster colors.
Image Credit: Andy Warhol
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Eileen Collins
Artist: Annie Leibovitz, 1999
Media: Photograph
Description: Annie Leibovitz photographed Eileen Collins at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, during training. Collins was the first female pilot (Discovery in 1995) and first female commander (Columbia, 1999) of a space shuttle program.
Image Credit: Annie Leibovitz
All rights reserved
Courtesy: NASA Art Program