Home World Business Jeff Koons Sculpture Becomes First ‘Authorized’ Artwork on the Moon

Jeff Koons Sculpture Becomes First ‘Authorized’ Artwork on the Moon

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A sculpture by Jeff Koons has become the first “authorized” artwork on the moon.

The work, titled “Moon Phases,” was blasted into space on February 15 as part of the NASA and Lunar Machines uncrewed mission. It represents NASA’s first moon mission in 50 years, and the first commercial craft to land on the lunar surface.

The sculpture is a far cry from the artworks Koons is best known for, which include the mirror-polished stainless steel “Balloon Dog” series and the kitschily pornographic photographs of the “Made in Heaven” series.

Instead, the 69-year-old artist created a compact box of 125 small moon-like spheres, each of them honoring a famous individual.

The spheres are named for notable people throughout history, including David Bowie, Sojourner Truth, Galileo, and Helen Keller.

These are people who, as Koons put it, “made significant changes and have given us a glimpse into how we can transcend.”

“I wanted to bring meaning to the dialog,” he said. “I wanted to communicate with people globally how we’re able to transform our lives through art.”

As well as the sculpture that’s ended up on the moon’s surface, “Moon Phases” comprises an NFT and another set of larger polished spheres destined to remain on Earth.

Each of those spheres is decorated with a precious gemstone that marks the landing site of the corresponding lunar sculpture.

Jeff Koons Whitney

Jeff Koons with one of his iconic Balloon Dog sculptures


The artwork is cautiously being named as the first “authorized” artwork on the moon.

This is because of a fabled earlier project involving artists including Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg in 1969.

According to PBS, several artists contributed sketches that were then reduced to minuscule size on a tiny ceramic chip, known as the “Moon Museum.”

An engineer from the Apollo 12 lunar mission, who has only ever been identified as “John. F” reportedly agreed to clandestinely attach the chip to the moon lander — but, as Wired reported, whether he actually did so has never been confirmed.

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