A Beach Museum of Art exhibit will take visitors on a journey to space.
“Beyond Gravity” features art that portrays or evokes space or interstellar bodies. The exhibit is inspired by Manhattan Public Library’s summer reading program, which has the theme, “A Universe of Stories,” this year in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Associate Curator of Education Kathrine Schlageck said she enjoyed the opportunity to show how people around the world all share an interest in space.
“The night sky is a fascination for every culture,” she said.
One of the centerpieces in the exhibit is a work by Raymond Loewy. The print portrays the moon landing with some elements highlighted with a foil overlay to give it a more futuristic look. Loewy was most well known as an industrial designer. He worked for NASA from 1967 to 1973 and designed the exterior of Air Force One. Loewy also worked on a design for the space station Skylab, although his design was not eventually used.
“One of the things to think about was how to make it livable,” Schlageck said. “He had made something that was more like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’”
Another central work is a series called “Alien Planets” by Indian artist R.M. Palaniappan. It features several pieces designed to look like scientific illustrations of planets. The colorful circles are reminiscent of topographical images of planets.
“He was interested in flight and outer space from the time he was a child,” Schlageck said. “I think he would’ve like to have been an astronaut.”
The exhibit also features a work by Palaniappan that shows designs for spaceships.
“It looks like a Leonardo DaVinci except in the future, these kind of intergalactic spaceships,” Schlageck said.
The exhibit also includes work by Native American and Japanese artists. Schlageck said it demonstrates how different cultures approach the subject differently, but still all incorporate galactic elements into artwork.
“We tend to call the constellations by their Roman name, but Native American culture has also named constellations,” she said. “They used their own mythology, but they were doing the same thing as European cultures.”
Schlageck also selected some pieces that more abstractly represented outer space. A flat ceramic piece by Orval Hempler shows a swirl of color that resembles a nebula. One piece shows small people running into an underground bunker as a large meteor heads toward Earth.
“We have very realistic ideas and then things that are more out there,” Schlageck said.
She said partnering with the library is a great chance to dig into the Beach’s collection and bring out more unusual pieces.
“It’s a lot of things that wouldn’t normally be on display,” Schlageck said.
The exhibit will be open until Nov. 30. The museum will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 20. They will also have ARTSmart classes throughout the summer themed after “Beyond Gravity.” Topics will be Star Gazing and Telescopes, Constellations and Starry Nights, Solar Systems and Planetary Mobiles, The Space Race, Space Craft, Exploring the Moon’s Surface, Extraterrestrials and Solar Prints.