NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration

For almost half a century, artists participating in the NASA art program have been documenting the extraordinary adventure of spaceflight in ways that no camera could match. They have enjoyed special access to some epic moments and offered their unique perspectives on what they have witnessed. At NASA’s invitation, artists have captured the faces and personalities of the men and women who have flown in space, and introduced us to the other members of the team as well — the anonymous scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, secretaries, and thousands of others who performed the myriad tasks required to operate a space program. Other artists were attracted by the bunkers, gantries, radio dishes, and the towering Vehicle Assembly Building of the Kennedy Space Center, or were struck by the co-existence of the space-age architecture of the Cape with the beaches, swamps, birds, and animals that surround the space-age facility.

The NASA art collection, shared now by the space agency and the National Air and Space Museum, is far greater than the sum of its parts. It stands as a reminder of pioneering years of the early Space Age and an inspiration for those who will continue our long journey into the universe. The exhibition includes some 70 paintings, drawings, photographs, and pieces of sculpture by such artists as Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and Jamie Wyeth.

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Exhibitions and events

Freer & Whistler: Points of Contact

Permanent exhibition

The juxtaposition of Asian and American art at the Freer Gallery is due largely to the influence of the expatriate American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), who played an important role in...

The Arts of China

Permanent exhibition

The Arts of China features a variety of objects from the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s permanent collection. Much of the exhibition is dedicated to a comprehensive group of ancient Chinese jades and...


Permanent exhibition

"ColorForms" presents works from the Hirshhorn's collection, dating from the 1960s to the present, that explore the ways in which color has been an essential tool for artists, regardless of medium....

Milestones of Flight

Permanent exhibition

The Museum's grand entry hall, Milestones of Flight showcases a truly awesome collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft that represent epic achievements in aviation and space flight. The place...

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