Secret Details of Apollo 12 Moon Mission
28 November, 2013
Secret Details of Apollo 12 Moon Mission
Incredible Exhibition at National Gallery

The Georgian National Gallery opened the sensational “Moon Museum” exhibition on 19 November. This project brings to the museum secret details of the Apollo 12 mission. What cultural novelties has Georgia witnessed previously? Introduction of jeans and rock, a few revolutions, though excluding the sexual one so far, and now … something from the moon! We are happy that except for a brief article in The New York Times, Georgian Journal is the first English-language
newspaper to cover the story.
A brief history: on the 20th of July 1969, the United States of America made a giant leap for mankind. American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. During the 14th through the 24th of November of that same year, NASA accomplished another manned flight to the moon. The Apollo 12 mission was organized to collect more seismologic, scientific and technical data. This second moon mission was completed by three highly trained astronauts: Alan Bean, Charles “Pete” Conrad and Richard Gordon. And in 1960s, NASA began commissioning artists to create art inspired by the Apollo missions.
“My idea was to get six great artists together and make a tiny little museum that would be on the moon,” said Forrest “Frosty” Myers. Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg and Myers created images specifically for the Moon Museum project. “Going to the moon was the biggest thing for our generation...We had stepped off the planet,” said Myers.
Using thin film photo reduction, as is done with micro-processing, the Moon Museum drawings were printed on ceramic wafers roughly the size of a thumbnail. With the assistance of an unnamed Grumman employee, one of these chips was surreptitiously attached to the Apollo 12’s LEM-6 landing legs and sent to the moon, at the initiative of the artists. The lunar module descended to the lunar surface on 19 November 1969.
Eka Kurtanidze, curator of the elements of the show relevant to its exhibition in Georgia, told media, “Having stepped on the moon, Americans left a flag on it. However, some famous painters thought it was not enough, and they wanted to send their works. They made a proposal to NASA, but due to some problems they never achieved an official agreement. So, they decided to directly speak to the scientists involved.
“Soon a letter arrived telling these painters that they are on the moon. This letter is here today. Jade Dellinger purchased one copy of this chip and decided to do this project called ‘Moon Museum’ together with Georgian artists. So here we go. “
Jade Dellinger, co-curator of the American portion of the exhibition, was in Georgia last spring. He wanted some Georgian artists to participate in a joint project dedicated to John Cage’s centennial, and thought they might have interest in the moon museum project also. “I think that the Georgian artists liked very much that this was done by American artists without permission, and secretly. It is the first time that an identical copy of the moon museum is in a country in the former Soviet Union, and that it has been on the moon for 45 years was a secret,” he stated.
Three young Georgian artists, Konstantin Mindadze, Rocko Iremashvili and Manuchar Okrotsvaridze, have contributed work which contributes to the cosmos theme. The exhibition includes Mindadze’s “Out of date, time and space,” and On Kawara’s “I am Still Alive”, calling attention to the relevancy of currency, and its existential connotations.
Large scale portraits of astronauts by Iremashvili reflect real emotions of the astronauts, and remind viewers of their contribution to history. Sculptures by Okrostsvaridze and Mindadze accompany sketches by Richard Serra reflecting the principles of weight and imponderability, and Serra attaches importance to his contribution.
“The US Embassy has supported the co-curator of the exhibition, Jade Dellinger, who has a very special connection with this exhibit - he is the director of the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery in Florida,” James Dewey, Cultural Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, commented.
“In addition to that, we have contemporary Georgian and American artists that are furthering the moon theme in the exhibition. We have the paintings of the original astronauts, we have sculptures that are asking questions about space and about time, about fragmentation, etc. I think this is a tremendous exhibition and I hope everyone will come.”
So now this museum is in the gallery and at the same time, on the moon. If you have time, peep inside Rustaveli 11. You will not regret it … an incredible tiny chip, the identical copy of the one on the moon, is there. Wow!
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