A Tiny Art Museum on the Moon? PBS Series Investigates

moon_chip.jpgDid NASA quietly create the first moon museum more than 40 years ago? A tiny ceramic chip embedded with original sketches by artists including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Rauschenberg (at right) may have been a pop art stowaway on the Apollo 12 lunar module launched in November 1969. The PBS series History Detectives takes on the case of the moon museum in its season eight premiere, which airs June 21. Host Gwen Wright, a professor of architecture at Columbia University, begins by going right to the source: Forrest “Frosty” Myers, the New York artist who dreamed up the otherworldly art project. “Going to the moon was the biggest thing in our generation. It’s hard to explain that to the kids today,” says Myers, perched in a anodized aluminum wire chair of his own design. “My idea was to get six great artists together and make a tiny little museum that would be on the moon.” The miniaturized works reflect the various perspectives of the contributing artists. Circuitry-like drawings by David Novros and John Chamberlain wouldn’t look out of place on a SIM chip of today, and Myers himself added a sketch of linked shapes. Rauschenberg went minimalist with a lone straight line, while Oldenburg doodled a Mickey Mouse. Meanwhile, leave it to Warhol to scandalize lunar museum patrons with a phallic symbol (or is that a rocket?) that doubled as a signature “AW.” Our first thought: how did Jasper Johns miss out on this? Then we remembered that thanks to Apollo 11, the moon already had a flag.