In 1969, artist Lowell Nesbitt was invited by NASA to create artwork to commemorate the Apollo 9 mission–the first flight of the full Apollo spacecraft that would eventually take humans to the Moon later that year during the Apollo 11 mission. Based on his time at Cape Canaveral, Nesbitt produced a portfolio of prints that was on view during this special exhibition. Taking away the mundane aspects of the enormous operation that is space flight, these prints capture the pure excitement, anticipation, and awe that people felt in 1969 at the prospect of space flight–feelings that deserve to be remembered and rekindled today. Lowell Nesbitt (1933-1993) was a painter, draftsman, printmaker, and sculptor most closely associated with the Photorealist art movement of the 1970s and notable for the breadth of subjects he depicted throughout his career. Among his contemporaries, he showed an early interest in electronics and computer parts as artistic subject matter, and he was commissioned by NASA to commemorate the Apollo 9 and Apollo 13 space missions. In 1980, the United States Postal Service honored Nesbitt by issuing four stamps based on his paintings. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions, the exhibition was on view in the John Bardo Center, where WSU faculty and students continue to conduct NASA-funded research to this day.
Lowell Nesbitt: Apollo, 1969 was the pilot project for Ulrich Connections, the newest program that ties the Museum’s robust exhibition and event programming more directly to the world outside its walls. As part of the program, the Ulrich seeks out strategic partnerships with academic units on campus and community organizations to create temporary exhibitions and events that will allow the museum to reach new audiences and increase awareness of and access to its collection. The project was cosponsored by WSU’s College of Engineering, and NASA in Kansas.
Banner: Lowell Nesbitt, Spacesuit Checkout, 1969, Screen print on paper. Gift of Dr. Udo Kultermann at the School of Architecture at Washington University, St. Louis, Collection of the Ulrich Museum of Art.