Tiny art museum on the moon?

Moonmmmmmsss-1 A mysterious Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation engineer known only as John F. allegedly snuck a tiny art collection aboard the Apollo 12 lunar module, delivering the first art museum to the moon. According to this episode of PBS's History Detectives, New York artist Forrest "Frosty" Myers worked with Bell Labs scientist Fred Waldhauer to imprint images of art by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, David Nobros, Robert Chamberlain, Robert Rauschenberg, and Myers himself onto tiny ceramic wafers. Myers claims that one of the art wafers was secretly attached to a leg of the lunar lander, and others were created as souvenirs. To put it in context, this was during the period when the group Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) was pioneering tech-art through collaborations between avant-garde artists like Rauschenberg and John Cage, and creative Bell Labs engineers orchestrated by Billy Kluver. Forty years later, John F.'s identity remains unknown as does the truth about whether one of those wafers ever made it to the lunar surface. Moon Museum (via AOL News)


  1. Based on the drawing in the upper-left-hand corner, it also appears that there’s a cartoon of a tiny penis on the moon, too.

    1. Methinks it’s a stretch to call it a geocache; considering the location, it’s a selenocache!

  2. Why did you have to mention John Cage?!!

    Now I’m going to have 4’33” stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  3. It’s the legendary John F Lunar tabs of LSD – sweet! I think the idea was that if the lunar module became non-functional then the astronauts could dose, make a flying leap and catch up with the mother ship….or just watch the earthrise.

  4. Interpol is now searching for “John F.”, charges of copyright violation pending.

    @Rich Keller- Well played, sir!

  5. ‘Shame that nothing of any real artistic importance was etched on the chip – that is, other than the fact that it was by major artists ( if this it true)

    1. “Real artistic importance”

      I thought one of the major qualities of art was it being subjective.

      Aside from that I would think possibility of it being first Warhol on the moon not bad for historical significance.

      It was a novel medium for the time, a great example of being forced to play to a minimalist aesthetic, a collaborative work between well known artists, and wonderful example of underground art in every sense of the genre.

      Did you just wish it was ‘prettier’?

  6. Not prettier. Just asking artists to try a little harder. Minimalism is over because it’s just too easy to ‘ape’ and call yourself an artiste

    The images here look like dopey kiddie scribbles to me. They are only significant drawings because the artists were super-stars.

    Forgetting for a moment the hushed/reverent names of the artists involved, do the drawings on the chip have great and true artistic impact for you?

    1. I think what is portrayed takes a back seat to the purpose and possible placement of the art. This seems more about context than substance. A urinal isn’t art until Duchamp signs it “R. Mutt” and throws it in a gallery… Though this isn’t really a found object.

      I’ll agree they seem rushed, but the dialogue isn’t constrained to the face of the works.

  7. For those interested in a similar phenomenon, there is a Florida State optics researcher who has documented a number of “chip doodles” from electronics engineers and circuit board designers seen in various commercial products, including a doodle in a sensor board used on the Mars Rovers.


  8. We, the beings of Omicron Persi-8, demand Earth’s greatest being-WAR-HOL! We shall send a delegation ship, and demand congress with him. If he is not there to meet us, prepare for war. END TRANSMISSION!

  9. I like the idea that we spent all that money and effort to go to the moon, but didn’t forget to leave a sketchy drawing of a penis up there. If one day in a distant future aliens find that, they know all about humanity they need to know.

Comments are closed.