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Jeff Koons launched his art to the moon from Florida

“Moon Phases” by Jeff Koons was launched on a rocket to the moon from Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.
Courtesy of Jeff Koons Studio
The Miami Herald
“Moon Phases” by Jeff Koons was launched on a rocket to the moon from Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

Jeff Koons, a famed artist whose work has sold for $91.1 million, is one of the biggest artists on Earth. Soon, he’ll be big on the moon.

A rocket made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company carrying 125 miniature, stainless steel sculptures by Koons launched from Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 1:05 a.m. last week. The artwork is expected to land with the Intuitive Machines Nova-C Lunar Lander and be permanently placed near the moon’s south pole on Feb. 23, according to a statement from 4SPACE, the company that collaborated with Koons on the project. The launch was planned for earlier this week, but was delayed due to technical issues, Forbes reported.

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The extraterrestrial art installation is more exclusive than Miami Art Week’s hottest influencer parties. This will be the first authorized art permanently placed on the moon.

The artwork, called “Moon Phases,” consists of 125 one-inch sculptures that each correspond to distinct phases and vantage points of the moon. Each sculpture is named after people who have made great accomplishments in human history, like Plato, David Bowie, Cleopatra, Andy Warhol, Leonardo da Vinci and Sojourner Truth. On Earth, 15.5-inch replicas of each mini sculpture will remain. (And of course, the sculptures also have their own NFTs.) “Moon Phases really deals with global aspiration for humankind, beyond the Earth into the universe,” Koons said in a video about the project. 4SPACE CEO Chantelle Baier approached Koons about an idea to put art on the moon.

4SPACE designed and built the enclosed art cubes that Koon’s sculpture’s will be placed in on the moon and Earth, the company’s statement said.

“I established 4SPACE in 2017 to bring art, design and media into outer space,” Baier said in a statement. “4SPACE’s initiative to install Jeff Koons’ artwork on the Moon is a celebration of the creativity of art alongside science and engineering.”

Koons is one of the world’s most famous contemporary artists, known for pop culture references, depictions of everyday objects and ridiculously high price tags. He’s the artist behind Lady Gaga’s “Art Pop” album cover and a gilded sculpture of Michael Jackson holding his chimp Bubbles.

In Miami, Koons’ artwork may be best known for a viral accident. Last February, at contemporary art fair Art Wynwood, a woman accidentally broke a $42,000 porcelain Koons sculpture made to look like a balloon dog. (The artwork was covered by insurance.)

Good thing the steel moon sculptures are more sturdy.

This story was produced with financial support from The Pérez Family Foundation, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.

Copyright 2024 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.

Amanda Rosa | Miami Herald
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