Vulcan Inc. today announced a new exhibition of nearly 60 objects related to science fiction and the history of space exploration – Imagined Futures: Science Fiction, Art, and Artifacts from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection – that will be on view at its 3,000-square-foot flexible concept space, Pivot Art + Culture beginning April 7, 2016. The exhibition, curated by Ben Heywood, runs through July 10, 2016.
Emphasizing the exploration of new space frontiers through works of art, the exhibition will feature important works by modern masters of the speculative and fantastic, including John C Berkey, Jim Burns, Don Dixon, Bob Eggleton, Chris Foss, Fred Gambino, Ron Miller, Ludek Pesek, Richard Powers, Alex Schomburg, and Tim White. These will be presented alongside master works from contemporary and modern artists who have dreamed of space and the future for mankind: Ansel Adams, Max Ernst, Woody Gwyn, Robert Longo, Rene Magritte, Simon Norfolk, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.
This exhibition is inspired by Paul G. Allen’s childhood, as he experienced the excitement of the space race first hand, in the news and in popular science fiction. A trip to the 1962 World’s Fair brought him face-to-face with the convergence of science and art. There he observed purple sparking Tesla coils, and NASA’s Project Mercury capsule that sent the first American into space, all under the shadow of the newest addition to Seattle’s skyline: the Space Needle. Those past experiences would shape his art collection today, which includes many pieces by Space Age visionaries who captured the wonder of an era whose sights were set on the stars.
The exhibition will feature paintings by artists Chesley Bonestell and Fred Freeman, whose depictions of outer space appeared in Colliers and Life magazines in the 1950s and made it seem like the conquest of space—particularly the moon and Mars—were just a few years away. Photostats and large-scale models of original designs by rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun will also be on view alongside original models from the 1950 film Destination Moon, produced by George Pal with Bonestell as “technical advisor of astronomical art” (IMDB), and the cult 1972 sci-fi film Silent Running directed by Doug Trumbull.
An installation by contemporary artists David Bowen and Kristina Estell will be on view. Titled voyager one (2014-present), it is created from custom software using the location of the Voyager 1 space probe launched by NASA in 1977. The artists’ project collects Voyager’s current distance from earth, its current distance from the sun, and the distance between the sun and earth to triangulate Voyager’s location. This will be displayed with Chesley Bonestell’s own model of Voyager 1 and concept art from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
Objects from Paul Allen’s other cultural institutions will be on view, including an XLR-99 rocket motor from the experimental 1950s X-15 hypersonic airplane from the Flying Heritage Collection, and a unique IBM 360/91 server panel from the Living Computer Museum.
This exhibition will follow the successful run of The Figure in Process: de Kooning to Kapoor 1955-2015, which opened at Pivot Art + Culture on December 5, 2015.