Seattle gallerist Greg Lundgren announces “Giant Steps,” a competition focused on proposing and building art on the moon. Finalists will be in a juried exhibition; the winner gets $10,000. Mankind gets a catalog of works that can go into space.
After an artist finishes a major work, a major challenge can be transporting it to its destination. What if that destination is the moon?
Seriously: That’s what Greg Lundgren’s “Giant Steps” competition requires.
“Giant Steps” will yield a juried exhibition in March as well as a catalog of works that could be put on Earth’s lone satellite. Gallerist, author and curator Lundgren first thought of “Giant Steps” — which opens March 3, 2016, at his King Street Station space — as an imaginary exhibit on his Vital 5 Production website, w3seattle.com. He decided instead to open the doors to the real world, to solicit the creative and technical communities to imagine and propose art projects that could live on the moon.
Proposal deadline is Jan. 14, 2016. The winner will be announced March 3 during the “Giant Steps” opening celebration.
Some of the criteria:
• Work must be achievable by you and one assisting astronaut.
• The full payload of supplies and materials to the moon cannot exceed 6 cubic feet and weigh no more than 60 kilograms.
• You may use existing material on the moon and are expected to leave supplies and/or artwork there.
Entries and info:
Greg Lundgren, email@example.com.
To be clear: The winner might not see his or her project hitch a ride on a rocket any time soon. But the prize is real: $10,000.
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His idea couldn’t hatch at a better time, Lundgren said, sitting on one of the few pieces of furniture in Out of Sight, the 23,000-square-foot art space he leases on the top floor of Seattle’s King Street Station.
He said that shortly after he announced the call for “Giant Steps,” NASA released thousands of high-res images from the moon landing, signs of water on Mars emerged and discussion resumed about going to the moon and beyond.
But at the same time, he noticed very little talk pointed toward arts and culture in space. “It’s a conversation I’m surprised we haven’t had,” he says. “I really wanted to have this ballroom dance where the aerospace people and the arts people stand on each side of the room and then mingle,” he said.
Not only is the timing right, but the place is, too. Seattle is teeming with private space companies and experts. Tesla inventor Elon Musk opened an office of his California-based SpaceX in Redmond earlier this year. Jeff Bezos opened Blue Origin in Kent. Paul Allen has Vulcan Aerospace. Another big player is Aerojet Rocketdyne, with more than 500 workers in Redmond, which builds rockets that have propelled spacecraft to every planet in the solar system. Its executive director of advanced in-space programs, Roger Myers, also happens to be, with his wife, a “junior” collector of glass art.
A friend introduced them to Lundgren, who talked up “Giant Steps.” Myers thought, “Oh, cool,” and became a technical reviewer for the project, one of four from the aerospace community. “I think it would benefit the aerospace community to have artists involved” in thinking about space, he said. “The key for any space mission is that it be realistic,” he said. “How big is it? How heavy is it?”
Artists must submit proposals for pieces that do not take up more than 6 cubic feet and weigh no more than 132 pounds.
Astronauts have a limited amount of time to actually work on the moon, he said, given that the lunar night is much longer than Earth’s. He added that his role has been “helping Greg understand the limits of bringing everything there. They have to get there with their tools, work there and be able to come home.”
Myers and Lundgren can’t guess what “Giant Steps” might yield.
“My hope is that there will be a dance troupe, or a filmmaker,” Lundgren said. “There could be robotic elements.”
“They could use local material, such as lunar dirt,” Myers said of the proposals. Maybe someone could install a camera,” so Earthlings could watch the project, he theorized. “I’m really looking forward to some creative ideas.”
“You don’t have to be an engineer and you don’t have to be an artist,” Lundgren pointed out.
“I think a kid could win the whole thing. I really do.”