Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration. (26112)
Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration. Credit: Lancaster Museum of Art and History

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) will host a public reception on Aug. 3 from 4-6 p.m., celebrating the opening of four new exhibits. The shows are based on the privatization of space travel, and an examination of the issues of the burgeoning senior population.

Occupying the main gallery is the landmark exhibit: “Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration,” which is the first contemporary art exhibition in the United States to present international artists and organizations investigating the connection between art and civilian space travel. The possibility of fulfilling the human dream of space travel has been encouraged by a major political and cultural shift away from toward a model based on private enterprise. Artists are at the center of this movement along with an international consortium of organizations.

The exhibit is especially relevant to the Antelope Valley, home to the world’s most successful and innovative companies in the global space industry, with organizations such as Scaled Composites, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Mojave Air and Space Port at the zenith of space flight research and testing. Many of the Free Enterprise artists worked collaboratively with these corporations on projects ranging from sending their art into space on the Apollo 12 mission, to depositing a virtual museum on the moon, and redesigning fashion for private space travel.

MOAH will celebrate the area’s rich aerospace heritage by opening the galleries to this pioneering art movement. The exhibit highlights: The Arts Catalyst (London, U.K.), Lowry Burgess (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Center for Land Use Interpretation (Culver City), Richard Clar (Paris, France/Los Angeles), Skeith De Wine (Santa Ana), Kitsou Dubois (Paris, France), Final Frontier Design (New York), Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research (international participants), Forrest Myers (New York), Carrie Paterson (Los Angeles), Connie Samaras (Los Angeles).

Finally, our local citizens in space, XCOR Aerospace Inc. (Mojave), will install a full-scale working rocket and other displays inside the museum.

Continuing with the theme of space and flight, Los Angeles-based artist Tim Youd will perform the typing of Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” on the original typewriter used to write the book. Youd’s performance involves typing the novel on a single page run through the machine repeatedly, thereby embedding the entire manuscript into one sheet. The novel concerns NASA’s first seven astronauts selected for space travel, known as the “Mercury Seven,” and other test pilots working with high-speed, rocket-powered aircraft at Edward’s Air Force Base, known as Muroc Army Airfield at the time.

Wolfe relied on his extensive research into the astronauts’ and test pilots’ lives, documenting why they would risk everything for such a dangerous and untested occupation.

Youd travels the world, performing various works in locales geographically related to either the author’s life or the plot of the novel. Youd performs at MOAH during the opening reception Saturday, Aug. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. Additional performances are scheduled for: Aug. 4-11 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Aug. 15, 22, 29, Sept. 26, Oct. 3, and 10.

MOAH will also display “Dog Fight,” an installation featuring Los Angeles-based artist Jorg Dubin’s sculptures from his Corporate Jet series. Constructed from sheet metal, Dubin captures the form and structure of military aircraft and finishes the surfaces with corporate logos from the high-end fashion and automobile industries.

Suspended in the lobby atrium in a configuration resembling an aerial dog fight, the installation comes alive from multiple vantage points as viewers walk through the first and second floors of the museum. The Corporate Jet series is a playful and ironic look at the influence, or perhaps the merging of power, across corporate America, globalization, politics and the innate desire for the good life, all of which are protected by the military.

“When I’m Sixty-Four” located in the second floor south gallery rounds out MOAH’s exhibit programming. “When I’m Sixty-Four” celebrates the senior population through paintings, drawings and photography. In California alone, data suggests that the population of those over the age of 65 will increase to 6.5 million by 2020. All aspects of life will be impacted from politics, public services, the economy, and family structures to healthcare.

The artists examine the role this group will play in culture and whether or not their perspective, acceptance, and politics will mature along with them. The artists explore the realities of aging, often through extremely private investigations into their own lives and the lives of others.

The museum is located at 665 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster. Additional information is available on MOAH’s website, www.lancastermoah.org.