Cincinnati arts and culture magazine AEQAI called the exhibition “Peculiar, grim, but somehow self-involved enough to be fun and funny…wears its IQ like a tank-top and jean cutoffs, comfortably numb and comfortably smart-assed and just plain comfortably accomplished.”
THE MOON SHOW
A Visual Exposé of the U.S. Apollo 11 Moon Landing:
Terrestrial Spectacle or Lunar Triumph?
In Association with Flat Earth Societe Anonyme.
Near*By collective’s curatorial debut exhibition explored the idea of simulated and actual reality using the first moon landing, U.S. Apollo 11, as a starting place.
The moon landing was, for many, seen as a victory for (hu)mankind. For others, the event was a politically charged American power play. In more recent history, conspiracy theorists have charged that the moon landing was a hoax, directed by Stanley Kubrick in a Hollywood studio. Was the moon landing an important cultural moment or merely a Baudrillardian simulacrum?
Since the moon landing, conspiracy theories about world events have only multiplied. The proliferation of claims of hoaxes for major happenings say as much about the likelihood of the reality of those events as they do about our collective loss of trust in our most powerful social institutions. The Kennedy assassination, 9/11, missing airplanes—thanks to the internet, as quickly as events unfold, individuals are able to create and promote their own narratives. In a society where we more frequently engage with events and reality through the media and social media, in whose reality are we living? What are the repercussions of our loss of faith in institutions and metanarratives? And what becomes of the role of the artist?
Scratching the (lunar) surface of those questions and more are fourteen area artists. Of these, six (Britni Bicknaver, Lyndsey Nehls, Tyler Hamilton, Rodney Gustke, Michael Molloy and Kelley Cartledge) are involved in the creation of physical works of art that reference the authenticity of the moon landing; while six others (Joey Versoza, Lauren Post, Madeline Walker, Jacob Riddle John Cairns, and Dan Muenzer) created videos for a separate area of the gallery. The installation work of Greg Swiger links these two spaces through the fabrication of a “control room” and movie/surveillance cameras; Aaron Walker contributes the image for a takeaway poster.
The result is a collaborative exhibition that melds curatorial and artistic practices while blurring the boundaries between installation and white cube.
Like the Apollo 11 astronauts coordinating with NASA, artists are given specific missions. But unlike NASA astronauts or control room operators, artists are celebrated for their unique abilities to embellish and lie.
Begin ignition sequence! In 10, 9, 8…
Michael Vneck Molloy
& a takeaway poster by Aaron Walker