Rauschenberg and the Art of Collaboration: The Moon Museum
When Apollo 12 landed on the moon in 1969, it may have been carrying an edition of this artwork.
Forrest Myers, a member of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), invited Rauschenberg, (one of the founding members of E.A.T.) and five other artists to make drawings, which were etched by scientists at Bell Laboratories onto tiny wafer-thin iridium-plated ceramic chips. When NASA didn’t respond to Myers’s request, Bell Labs scientist Fred Waldhauer asked an engineer to help. According to Waldhauer, one copy of the chip was covertly attached to the leg of the lunar lander.
In addition to Rauschenberg’s straight line, there is a Mickey Mouse–like figure by Claes Oldenburg, stylized initials by Andy Warhol (“He was being the terrible bad boy,” said Forrest Myers in an interview), a black square by David Novros, a computer-generated drawing by Myers, and a circuit-like diagram by John Chamberlain.
[John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol with Fred Walhauer. “The Moon Museum.” 1969. Lithograph of tantalum nitride film on ceramic wafer. Publisher: Forrest Myers. Fabricator: Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey. Edition: c. 40. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Ruth Waldhauer. Photo: Peter Butler. © 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation]