December 29, 2012

Receipt of Delivery: Art in Space Launch '84

Receipt of Delivery is a weekly series featuring Bay Area exhibition mailers selected from the SFMOMA Research Library’s collection of artists’ ephemera.

“Through the miracle of science, the Art in Space Center has built a state-of-the-art rocket containing all the vital technology for a successful liftoff into the outer limits of our galaxy. By sending a capsule filled with microchips of ARTifacts into space, art will achieve its proper place in the space race … Other spectacular pre-launch festivities include: live music, apple pie bake-off, pyrotechnics, dancing in the streets, and a 21-gun salute followed by a mass sparkler-waving send-off.” — July 2, 1984 press release, Art in Space Center (Ginny Lloyd, Mike Mages, Aron Ranen, Sam Samore)

Art in Space Center: Mike Mages, Aron Ranen, Ginny Lloyd, Sam Samore; photo: Judy Dater, courtesy Ginny Lloyd

Press release for Art in Space open invitational rocket launch, part of performance collaboration Space: The Frontier Gallery, 1984; 11 x 8½ in. (27.94 x 21.59 cm)

Art in Space launch of LEONARDO I, August 18, 1984, Brisbane, California; photo: Catz Robmaw, courtesy of Ginny Lloyd

“We knew it was controversial and probably illegal, but we decided as a group to move forward. We devised a plan to put out posters and news to gain an audience. To get the city off of our backs if they got upset when they saw the news, we would designate a location and apply for a permit, going through the proper channels. Of course we expected a decline and arranged to send people to a construction site outside city limits.”  — Ginny Lloyd, Behind the Scene

Ginny Lloyd, Wanna Be an Astronaut performance part of Space Opera II, Victoria Theater, San Francisco, Inter-DADA 84 festival, September 2–9, 1984, organized by Lloyd and Terrence McMahon; photo: Steve Caravello. Documented on video, the Art in Space launch was the prologue to this mail art and performance multi-venue festival. See:

The year 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of planetary exploration, the milestone of the Mars Rover landing, and numerous exciting celestial events. It also happened to be the year for the culmination of several major, ambitious space-related art commissions and projects. Here are a few stellar moments in art, performance, and music to review as we count down to the New Year:

Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (launched with EchoStar XVI on November 2o, Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan)

Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern’s Tweets in Space, ISEA2012, Getting of the Planet residency, New Mexico (transmitted September 20, 2012)

Nelly Ben Haydoun’s International Space Orchestra performances of Ground Control: A Space Opera, 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, San Jose, California

Katie Grinnan’s Astrology Orchestra, The Integraton, Landers, California

Reissue of Laurie Spiegel’s The Expanding Universe (Unseen Worlds). The track Kepler’s Harmony of the World has been traveling since 1977 on the Voyager 1 and 2 as part of the Golden Record

KNOWLEDGES, Mount Wilson Observatory, Los Angeles

The successful protest campaign that resulted in the cancellation of Guillermo Faivovich and Nicolás Goldberg’s plans to transport the El Chaco meteorite from Argentina to Kassel for A Guide to Campo del Cielo in dOCUMENTA (13)

Katie Paterson’s recast meteorite, Campo del Cielo, Exhibition Road Show, London

To the Moon Via the Beach, Ampitheatre Arles, France

Nancy Holt’s Avignon Locators (1972–2012), Université d’Avignon, France

Lutz Bacher’s The Celestial Handbook, Whitney Biennial 2012

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