This exhibit explores the mysteries of the universe, both scientific and fantastical, theoretical and fictional, real and imagined. How do artists render the work of scientists, authors, explorers, astronomers, cartoonists, Trekkies, LARPers, astrologers, and philosophers? This exhibit embraces not only what science has revealed about space, but what humans have imagined about the cosmos. From the results of scientific inquiry to the creative minds of science fiction authors and fans, this exhibit celebrates how space has stimulated human understanding and creativity. From the big bang theory to worm holes and warp speed, artists have created works that bring to life what we know of space and what we imagine. Assembled here is a vibrant and diverse selection of works that speak to our fascination with the cosmos.
Dr. Andrew K. Johnston, Geographer, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Cosmos: Imaging the Universe consists of more than 50 works inspired by views of space, the universe, planets, and other worlds beyond. The exhibition explores the rich connections between science and the arts. Artists have long been inspired by views from space, and artistry is always present in visualizations used by scientists. The artworks in this exhibition include many that evoke the formation of planets and evolution of stars. Spherical worlds often appear in these works, reminiscent of views of planets, stars, and other celestial objects. Many other works are inspired by images acquired by telescopes or spacecraft. Astronauts float in space, moons of Jupiter and Saturn pass by in orbit, and enormous nebulae and great swirling clouds of gas and dust encompass expanses of space. Some of the most visually striking artworks are even more contemplative, consisting of color and patterns that can remind us of the vast scale of the universe. Several sculptural works bring to mind more cosmological structures, otherworldly rock samples, and space probes. Viewing the works in this exhibition is a reminder of how we view the universe and our place in the cosmos.