Opinion

Warhol’s Cock (Drawing) on the Moon?

A view of the artistic oddity with works by (clockwise from top left) Warhol, Rauschenberg, Novros, Chamberlain, Oldenburg, and Myers (via greg.org)

On June 21, the premiere of the eighth season of the PBS series History Detectives will investigate the tiny ceramic chip covered with original sketches by artists Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, and Forrest Myers, that traveled to the moon with the Apollo 12 lunar module in November 1969.

Forrest Myers is best known for his “Wall Piece” (1973-2007) (via forrestmyers.com)

The mini-artistic whatever it is was the brainchild of artist Forrest Myers, who is best remembered for his “Wall Piece” (1973, 2007) at the corner of Broadways and Houston. In the television series, Myers explains the thinking behind the lunar piece:

“Going to the moon was the biggest thing in our generation. It’s hard to explain that to the kids today … My idea was to get six great artists together and make a tiny little museum that would be on the moon.”

While some of the artists decided on an absolutely minimalist approach (Rauschenberg provided one straight line) others went for the artistic jugular, or more precisely another body part (Myers says that Warhol’s very phallic contribution was also his initials, “A W.” Yeah, sure.).

Greg.org, who was probably the first to rediscover the thing and post a photo on his blog back in 2008, has an informative write-up about the object. He also addresses the issue of the number of copies:

Though Myers told PBS that 16 or 20 chips were made, Amy Waldhauer [whose mother Ruth Waldhauer donated the chip to MoMA which was exhibited last year at PS1’s 1969 show], said there were 40.

While the object isn’t really an artistic breakthrough of any kind, it is a beautiful reminder that ideas, no matter how radical, have a funny way of willing themselves (with a lot of help, of course) into existence.

Watch the TV segment here.

Hat tip jonnodotcom.tumblr.com

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