Annie Leibovitz/Courtesy of Smithsonian
It's well-known that the dawn of the Space Age inspired a renaissance in American science. Less well-known is the art that the space program helped give rise to.
Jack Perlmutter/Courtesy of Smithsonian
Liftoff at 15 Seconds, 1982
Liftoff at 15 Seconds, 1982 Jack Perlmutter/Courtesy of Smithsonian
Norman Rockwell/Courtesy of Smithsonian
In 1962, NASA began commissioning artwork to chronicle the ecstasy and agony of manned spaceflight — from those early successes breaking the chains of gravity to enter Earth orbit to the Columbia shuttle tragedy and beyond. That collection goes on display starting Saturday at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
James Wyeth/Courtesy of Smithsonian
Some 70 works are on display. Among the gems is a delicate 1964 watercolor by James Wyeth that hints at humbler days in the space program, when technicians rode bicycles to check on the launchpad. And then there's William Wegman's playful 2001 vision of dogs in space (see them suited up?) — not the starry night of Van Gogh's imaginings, for sure, but mesmerizing in its own way.
William Wegman/Courtesy of Smithsonian
Chip and Batty Explore Space, 2001