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Odysseus became the first American spacecraft to land on the moon in more than 50 years

8:23 PM ET, February 22, 2024

Art in Space: Sculpture takes a trip to the moon aboard the Odysseus lunar lander

From CNN's Jackie Palumbo

Jeff Koons' “Moon Phases” on the Odysseus lunar lander were seen flying over the near side of the moon on Wednesday.

Intuitive Machines/AP

Replace the gallery space with a transparent box in Space, American artist Jeff Koons now has one of his own Artworks on the moon.

On Thursday, a sculpture called “Moon Phases” took flight aboard the Odysseus lunar lander as it touched down on the moon’s surface. This was the first United States landing on the moon in more than 50 years.

The artwork depicts 125 miniature moon figures inside a box about one inch in diameter. “Phases of the Moon” shows 62 phases of the Moon as seen from Earth, 62 phases visible from other vantage points in space, and one lunar eclipse.

Jeff Koons holds the “moon phases” before being strapped into the lunar lander.

From Jeff Koons/Instagram

Each sculpture is engraved with the name of a leading figure in human history, including Aristotle, David Bowie, Leonardo da Vinci, Gandhi, Billie Holiday, Gabriel García Márquez, Andy Warhol, and Virginia Woolf. “Kons was inspired by the moon as a symbol of curiosity and determination,” according to a statement from his gallery, Peace.

But the art market won't be able to do much with distant sculptures “on display” in outer space, so there's a commercial element to Koons' project as well. Pace Verso, the NFT wing of Pace, also offers NFTs for each sculpture, while Koons has produced larger, synchronized physical sculptures of his “moon phases” to stay on Earth.

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