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The Strange Story Of the Sculpture On the Moon

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the cheese-cutters-for-michaelangelo dept.

Moon 132

braindrainbahrain writes "Slate magazine has written a story about the only work of art placed on the Moon: the Fallen Astronaut sculpture. It was placed on the Moon during the Apollo 15 mission to commemorate both American and Soviet deceased astronauts. The little statue, rather than bringing fame and fortune, ended up being nearly forgotten, and got both Apollo astronaut David Scott and Belgian sculptor Van Hoeydonck in hot water with the U.S. government."

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News? (-1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#45811775)

Apollo 15 was like 40 years ago...

Re:News? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45811811)

Anonymous internet hug incoming. Breathe deep and let the hate out of your heart.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812119)

Sure, as soon as you learn to let go of the past and live in the present.

Re:News? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#45812537)

right, because the internet is so old, we shouldnt use it either. And cars, they are like 120 years old now! why would anyone use something so old!!

Re:News? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812695)

You're not using the internet from 40 years ago. Are you stupid? The internet was useful, so it progressed for the last 40 years. Going to the Moon wasn't useful, that's why it's 40 years in the past and no one else returned. That was a stupid post, dude.

Re:News? (3, Informative)

platypussrex (594064) | about 9 months ago | (#45811845)

From TFA: "Now, after years of obscurity, Fallen Astronaut is making an unexpected comeback. Four decades after van Hoeydonck’s private meeting with the Smithsonian’s director, the Smithsonian invited the artist and his most famous sculpture out into the public for an absurdly belated lecture on Dec. 12 at the National Air and Space Museum"

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812089)

Wow, how'd they get the statue back from the moon?

Re:News? (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about 9 months ago | (#45812209)

They illegally downloaded it

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812327)

Wow, how'd they get the statue back from the studio where they faked the moon landing?

After the "FTFY" it was quite easy to get the statue back.

Re: News? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45813253)

Actually, this is proof that the moon landing wasn't faked. As all slashdot knows, it is extremely difficult to get something back from the moon -- but it can be done.

Getting anything from one of the studios is beyond impossible.

Re:News? (1)

jovius (974690) | about 9 months ago | (#45811879)

The news is that the astronaut, the artist and the US government are together in a some kind of hot water arrangement, presumably since then.

Re:News? YES! (be thou still my beating heart) (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 9 months ago | (#45812603)

Apollo 15 was like 40 years ago...

Amazing isn't it. Who knew??
I covered this exciting news back in September in this [failed] Slashdot submission,

Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 40-Year Old Technology [slashdot.org]

TheRealHocusLocus writes

"Paul Rosenberg has uncovered some surprising new evidence that manned space travel is not only possible, it has actually been achieved using decades-old technology. [theburningplatform.com] Some 40 years in the making, a tale too amazing to remain untold. With a few quaint photographs he asks, could we build this? The answer is no. Or is it? It is uplifting to read that "Productive humans have been delegated to mute observance as their hard-earned surplus is syphoned off to capital cities, where it is sanctimoniously poured down a sewer of cultured dependencies and endless wars..." for it must take something really compelling to prevent us from reaching the stars, and he has nailed it. This essay makes the case that the headliner of 2052 may well be: Breakthrough: Manned Space Travel Achieved Using 80-Year Old Technology. I can hardly wait! Down with robots. [slashdot.org] "

Art? (1, Flamebait)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45811875)

That is the ugliest chunk of milled aluminum I have ever seen. I'd have been ashamed to admit creating it. They should have skipped the statue and just laid a larger plaque instead.

Re:Art? (2)

pla (258480) | about 9 months ago | (#45811935)

That is the ugliest chunk of milled aluminum I have ever seen. I'd have been ashamed to admit creating it. They should have skipped the statue and just laid a larger plaque instead.

Agreed, but TFA mentions that it couldn't have any clear race or even gender.

I find it more bizarre that people actually wanted a copy of it. I mean, the stamps that had actually gone to the Moon, sure, I can see the appeal there. But a copy of an ugly statue merely left there, rather than the original? Meh. Maybe as a $10 trinket from the Smithsonian gift shop.

Re:Art? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812245)

What if it was 3D printed? Then suddenly it wouldn't be a trinket, it would be a game-changing technology that means that we're two weeks away from Star Trek replicators.

Re:Art? (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 9 months ago | (#45812847)

What if it was 3D printed? ...

Funny you should mention that as someone was selling (somewhat imperfect) replicas on Shapeways [shapeways.com]

Re:Art? (0)

Carewolf (581105) | about 9 months ago | (#45813477)

Milling is like 3D printing in metal.

Re:Art? (1)

NF6X (725054) | about 9 months ago | (#45813897)

Milling is like 3D printing in metal.

No, it is not. Milling is a subtractive process, and 3D printing is an additive process. Plastics can be milled, too.

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45814945)

Go back under your bridge at Fark.com, Quantum Apostrophe, you sad, pathetic, self-loathing one-note ex-fuck.

Re:Art? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 9 months ago | (#45811989)

It could have been worse. The statue could have had pointy Spock ears and the plaque contain the lyrics to Surfin' Bird.

Re: Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812445)

Actually, that would have been all kinds of awesome.

Re:Art? (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45812217)

I'd have been ashamed to admit creating it.

Not everyone can appreciate art, but there's no reason to be a prick about it.

Re:Art? (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45812429)

The artist himself claimed it was not his best work.

Having seen some of his other work, I'm inclined to disagree.

Re:Art? (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45812447)

It doesn't matter. The point is, there's no need to shit on somebody else's art.

Re:Art? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45812513)

The point is, there's no need to shit on somebody else's art.

Indeed. Unless the artist is Piero Manzoni, [wikipedia.org] then it's alright.

Re:Art? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45812597)

Here's a better link [tate.org.uk]

Very cool!

Re:Art? (1, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45813113)

How can you shit on shit?

Marcel Duchamp's /Fountain/ - at least you can try to piss in/on that.

Re:Art? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45813199)

How can you shit on shit?

Honestly? I do it every day.

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45813439)

"Art is just the last three letters of fart." -Butthole Surfers vocalist Gibby Haynes.

Re:Art? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 9 months ago | (#45813449)

So you're that guy. Just bloody well flush the bog when you're done. It's disgusting.

Re:Art? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45812743)

|>E#

I just made that up and pronounce it to be art.
You are allowed to either appreciate it's beauty or admit that you hate all art.
Any -1 mods are merely people who don't understand art and whose opinion on art should therefore be ignored.

Re:Art? (5, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#45813117)

|>E#

I just made that up and pronounce it to be art. You are allowed to either appreciate it's beauty or admit that you hate all art. Any -1 mods are merely people who don't understand art and whose opinion on art should therefore be ignored.

I'm reminded of the scene in L.A. Story [wikipedia.org] in which Harris (Steve Martin) is admiring and remarking on a painting hanging in the museum:

Harris: I like the relationships. I mean, each character has his own story. The puppy is a bit too much, but you have to over look things like that in these kinds of paintings. The way he's *holding* her... it's almost... filthy. I mean, he's about to kiss her and she's pulling away. The way the leg's sort of smashed up against her... Phew... Look how he's painted the blouse sort of translucent. You can just make out her breasts underneath and it's sort of touching him about here. It's really... pretty torrid, don't you think? Then of course you have the onlookers peeking at them from behind the doorway like they're all shocked. They wish. Yeah, I must admit, when I see a painting like this, I get emotionally... erect.

[The camera pulls back and the painting is revealed to be of a large red rectangle.]

Re:Art? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814239)

In the correct context, it would be art. This is not the correct context, so no.
Really, stop discussing art because you don't know jack shit.

Re:Art? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 9 months ago | (#45813057)

Most people are priggish busybodies. If they don't understand something, they act like that's proof its worthless.

That said, a lot of the fun of art is having opinions about it. Not liking a piece of art isn't the same as "shitting on it". You like what you like; where you end up on treacherous ground is when you have an opinion about what other people *ought* to like.

I don't like the novel Twilight. I have very specific opinions about things that are not good about that novel. On the other hand, I understand why the people who like that novel like it. My not liking that novel doesn't make me better than them, only different. Likewise I can tell you a lot about what's wrong with Lord of the Rings as a novel, but it's a story I love and re-read every couple of years.

The more serious you are about an art form the less it becomes about what you like or don't like. Liking or not like is still important, but it's not everything.

Re:Art? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814287)

Twilight is a bad novel ofrm pretty much every technical view.

Really, bad.
There are 4 stones..I mean position:
There is good art, there is bad art, there is art you like and there is art you don't like.

It's perfectly fine to like bad art, but that doesn't make it good art. I like a lot of bad movies.
Of course, we should keep this is context of the type of art.
Sculpture that couldn't have race, gender, and had to withstand extreme temperature swings and bot weigh too much, and show to anyone who look at it that it represented a people went to space.
.
Inside those parameters, and considering the type of art at the time, it's a technically good piece. It captures exactly what it's intent to capture was.
Doesn't mean you have to like it.

So, if you don't like art, fine. Talk about why you don't like it, talk about it's technical merits. Don't go around and say its not art.

Re:Art? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 9 months ago | (#45814579)

My not liking that novel doesn't make me better than them, only different.

I disagree. Twilight is terrible. Not liking is sensible. :)

Likewise I can tell you a lot about what's wrong with Lord of the Rings as a novel, but it's a story I love and re-read every couple of years.

Sure it has its failings. But it is also amazing on so many levels.

The more serious you are about an art form the less it becomes about what you like or don't like.

Right. You can recognize good art from bad, and you can appreciate good art even if you don't like it.

But 1.8M for something like this...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_of_Fire [wikipedia.org]

just offends me. I freely admit I don't get it; that I lack sufficient art history/art appreciation education perhaps to get it. But nonetheless I contend there is nothing to get...

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45814627)

The people who like Twilight don't like it for the writing. They may say they do, but they don't. The writing is THAT bad. Repeated adjectives and adverbs, mary sue protagonist, shallow characters, shallow antagonist. It's about Edward, told from an emotionally stunted pubescent view of love and relationships... which ironically was produced by a 30-something year old housewife. For those who don't know much about Twilight. The main character, Belle, is essentially the author herself. The love interest is a self-loathing vampire teenage boy... who we eventually learn is not a vampire at all. The author dreamt of the character seducing her. The entire novel is based loosely on that dream. There is no growth, no evolution, in the relationship between the two characters. It's just a hot lust affair disguised as love. I honestly feel that Twilight was a poor example because everyone who has liked the novel has cited feeling that Edward the not-vampire was dreamy and that Bella is an idiot who doesn't deserve Edward's love, but I understand where you were going with this. I'm just saying that Twilight is that one notable exception.

Good grief... (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 9 months ago | (#45813267)

It doesn't matter. The point is, there's no need to shit on somebody else's art.

Why not? Art is in the eye of the beholder, and indeed people actually get paid to shit on other people's art (figuratively). If an artist can't take criticism, they need to get out of the art biz (though they can still produce crap for their friends).

Seriously, no one can criticize "art"?

Re:Good grief... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814297)

That's not what he is saying, Don't go around saying it's not art becasue you don't like it.
That's all.

Re:Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45813811)

It doesn't matter. The point is, there's no need to shit on somebody else's art.

Shitting on it would be redundant.

Re:Art? (1)

Livius (318358) | about 9 months ago | (#45813339)

He wasn't

Art *is* fair game to criticism. He made an objective statement of fact that followed from his opinion.

Re:Art? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#45813999)

Having an opinion about so-called "art" is "flamebait?"

Mods: Flamebait is not a "Disagree" option

Re:Art? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814223)

I disagree. It's perfect for what they were representing.

"I'd have been ashamed to admit creating it."
I'd be amazed if you could create it at all.

The story isn't over (2)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45811909)

The Chinese will recover it and put it on display in a Beijing museum. Plastic replicas on sale in the lobby gift shop.

Re:The story isn't over (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 9 months ago | (#45812219)

The Chinese will recover it and put it on display in a Beijing museum. Plastic replicas on sale in the lobby gift shop.

And charge the USA a littering fee

Re:The story isn't over (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 9 months ago | (#45812569)

And charge the USA a littering fee

That would be a presumption of a sovereignty claim upon at least a portion of the Moon... and a retroactive claim at that. Besides simply a violation of the Outer Space Treaty, it would also be setting an interesting long-term precedent.... ...a precedent that IMHO the U.S. government wouldn't mind seeing somebody else set at first and be gladly welcomed. If anything, any such littering fee would be gladly paid in full.

Re:The story isn't over (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 9 months ago | (#45812759)

That would be a presumption of a sovereignty claim upon at least a portion of the Moon...

Yes, yes it would.

...and a retroactive claim at that. Besides simply a violation of the Outer Space Treaty

And when they discover a valuable exploitable resource, they will withdraw from the treaty..

Re:The story isn't over (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 9 months ago | (#45812777)

They can charge the US what they like. it would never be a penalty, but money for service.

In this case polishing the statue, making some more pictures of it in front of the chines space buggy would be far more valueable. (and adding a list of the challenger/discovery flight crew, to point out the failure of the NASA flight program)

And yes, of course make a 3d scan for a copy/reproduction of it.

And as of the outer space threaty, if someone finds out a way to make a profit from space mining..... well see Iron Sky (2012) [imdb.com]

Just wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812857)

It only is a matter of time before the Outer Space Treaty gets tossed. Think China would keep it, if it means significant economic and military gains? Doubtful, as they are the only nation with the will, resources, and technology to land something on the moon right now.

Re:The story isn't over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812417)

The Chinese will spend billions to go get a stupid trinket? Usually when someone spends billions to get dollars back, we point and laugh at them, right? Oh except China! Because they're doing something symbolic and you're afraid your precious symbols from 40 years ago will be disturbed!

Re:The story isn't over (1)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45813001)

The Chinese will spend billions to go get a stupid trinket?

Western museums are stuffed with crap that we hauled back from distant lands at similar costs relative to the GDP at the time.

Re:The story isn't over (1)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#45815107)

Vasco de Gama's trip around Africa to India cost a larger percentage of the Portuguese GNP than the entire Apollo program cost America.

Re:The story isn't over (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812679)

That statue sits next to a plaque that has the names of 14 American and Russian cosmo/astronauts who gave their lives in the pursuit of space travel, do you really think the PRC is going to disrupt something like that? It disturbs me how lightly many seem to treat this, even calling it littering, very disrespectful.

Re:The story isn't over (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 9 months ago | (#45812923)

do you really think the PRC is going to disrupt something like that?

Of course not. That would offend our Western sensitivity to foreign cultures. Just like the Elgin marbles and all the other SWAG our forefathers hauled back from journeys of exploration. Or carving the heads of four white guys on to the side of a sacred mountain (just so I'm not pointing the finger at one country).

There could've been a profit motive (1)

mi (197448) | about 9 months ago | (#45811937)

  1. Convince a cosmonaut to take an item to the Moon and leave it there.
  2. Ride the post-landing enthusiasm by selling millions of copies of the item.
  3. PROFIT

Whether this was, indeed, the intention or not, it could've been suspected. Indeed, TFA says, Van Hoeydonck was "accused of profiteering from the public space program". I personally see nothing particularly wrong with such "profiteering", but I would not work for the government either...

Re:There could've been a profit motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45814347)

NASA has had a long standing of no profiteering form a government paid program.

" I personally see nothing particularly wrong with such "profiteering""
that becasue you a a greedy cock sucker who would destroy the world if it meant a few more points in you bank account.

Re:There could've been a profit motive (1)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#45815143)

Coincidentally I was just reading Al Worden's book (the Command Module pilot for the mission). The agreement that the astronauts had with stamp suppliers and the sculpture artist was the same as previous astronaut crews had; that nothing would be sold until the entire crew had retired from the space program or had passed away. Of course stamp collectors being what they are they couldn't just sit on their treasure while the value gradually decreased, and the resulting tempest in a teapot damaged the reputation of the crew of the Apollo 15 mission.

It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (5, Insightful)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about 9 months ago | (#45811961)

The sculpture was meant to commemorate the dead astronauts and cosmonauts, not to promote the guy who made it. Van Hoeydonck failed to understand this, and that was his undoing.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (2)

WoodenTable (1434059) | about 9 months ago | (#45812073)

Indeed.

It seems almost poetic, in a way. He was shuffled into obscurity for trying to become famous. I can't help but feel that, had he remained utterly silent about creating the sculpture, he would be even more famous now. People love discovering unsung heroes, especially on the internet.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812075)

Any fucking moron is allowed to make money off just about anything, only artists are apparently supposed to starve for the rest of their lifes. No wonder we live in such a trash world.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (5, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#45812163)

And what about honoring agreements that are made? Are artists so special that they are allowed to ignore them? From Scott's perspective, he had an agreement with sculptor Van Hoeydonck to make the original and the copy as the only two to be made as they were memorials to fallen astronauts. Van Hoeydonck contends that they were for all of mankind and thus he can make and sell as many copies as he wanted. This is no different from any commissioned work of art; the artist doesn't get to make as many copies as he/she wants.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (4, Interesting)

immaterial (1520413) | about 9 months ago | (#45812343)

That's Scott's side of the story. Since we weren't there and they didn't put anything in writing, we can't know who is telling the truth. Most likely when they discussed the art and it's placement they both left unsaid the things they thought were obvious - and what is obvious to an artist (I get credit for my work) and obvious to an astronaut with a strong spiritual sensibility (this is going to be subtle and dignified) are two very different things.

Your claim of a "commissioned work of art" is wrong, because it was the artist that went to THEM to get them to put his work up there. Look at the artist's reaction to being called "the workman" - "then you might as well call Scott 'the postman.'" It was in reality a collaboration, but one where both sides unfortunately had different expectations.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#45812697)

Your claim of a "commissioned work of art" is wrong, because it was the artist that went to THEM to get them to put his work up there. Look at the artist's reaction to being called "the workman" - "then you might as well call Scott 'the postman.'" It was in reality a collaboration, but one where both sides unfortunately had different expectations.

What does it matter who went to whom? The only thing that matters is if they had an agreement (just like any other contract). If they agreed that there would be only so many copies, then that's all that matters. The article makes it clear that there were initially only three public copies (two of which were made after the Apollo 15) and two prototypes. It seems from the article that the Van Hoeydonck wanted more credit but that Scott maintained that there an agreed anonymity. A year ater Apollo 15, Van Hoeydonck had many, many more copies made for sale.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45812803)

> there were initially only three public copies (two of which were made after the Apollo 15)

I'd say that meant that there was initially only one, not three.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45815049)

Yeah I'd take the self serving word of an "artitistic" (read unhinged drama queen) type over the astronaut. After all, who has anything to gain? Oh yeah, Bat shit Von Look at me!

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 9 months ago | (#45812587)

And what about honoring agreements that are made? Are artists so special that they are allowed to ignore them? From Scott's perspective, he had an agreement with sculptor Van Hoeydonck to make the original and the copy as the only two to be made as they were memorials to fallen astronauts. Van Hoeydonck contends that they were for all of mankind and thus he can make and sell as many copies as he wanted.[. . .]

I know this depends on stereotyping to some degree but:

Have you ever worked with the engineering type whose rational demeanor and levelheadedness allows for the calm deliberate action one must take in the face of rapidly changing potentially deadly environmental conditions?

Being on /., I'm going to take a guess you have.

Now, have you ever worked with the artistic type whose sensibilities are attuned to impossible-to-quantify and difficult-to-articulate aesthetic contours and dimensions of plastic art, whose manner and behavior drive that artist to produce artwork that is often vilified and ridiculed to be later held up by succeeding generations as works of artistic genius?

Could these two types of people ever have a "meaningful" enduring contract sealed only with words and a handshake?

(I hear there is at least a third type of person whose canny judgement and profit-incentive leads them to forge documents tens of thousands of words long which specify the conditions and behavior of bonded parties, and these third types aren't always looked upon favorably by the engineering and artistic types.)

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#45812609)

Could these two types of people ever have a "meaningful" enduring contract sealed only with words and a handshake?

Well there are more than two types of people. Another type is an arbiter whose job is to decide in disagreements like this i.e. judges. Those types would see that if the two had a contract, then the artistic type doesn't get to ignore it simply because they want to do so.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812725)

This is no different from any commissioned work of art; the artist doesn't get to make as many copies as he/she wants.

IANAL but unless you've got it in writing you've got squat. When commissioning a work, spell that out in the contract. This sounds like a handshake deal. A court would have to establish the most likely truth. Having purchased one (non-commissioned) work of art in my life, there was an oral agreement between me and the artist that he retained reproduction rights to the painting (postcards, prints, or even a painted copy, etc.). I was just getting the physical painting.

It's my understanding that for non-commissioned works such as this, the reproduction rights may default to the artist. As you might imagine, artists are not any more versed in the law than most people and this causes a lot of them to get screwed, usually not the other way around.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 9 months ago | (#45813227)

IANAL but unless you've got it in writing you've got squat.

Verbal agreements are binding. Not as binding or easy to prove as a written agreement but they are still binding.

When commissioning a work, spell that out in the contract. This sounds like a handshake deal. A court would have to establish the most likely truth. Having purchased one (non-commissioned) work of art in my life, there was an oral agreement between me and the artist that he retained reproduction rights to the painting (postcards, prints, or even a painted copy, etc.). I was just getting the physical painting.

In your case, you had a verbal agreement for a non-commissioned piece so it is rather clear. If you had a commissioned piece and the artist made use of reproduction rights, it gets trickier.

It's my understanding that for non-commissioned works such as this, the reproduction rights may default to the artist. As you might imagine, artists are not any more versed in the law than most people and this causes a lot of them to get screwed, usually not the other way around.

The first question is whether it was commissioned or not. From the article, the sculptor didn't have a dozen copies and then tried to sell it to the astronaut. He wanted to put his work on the moon and contacted the astronaut who agreed that he wanted a piece. Then the sculpture was made. Later the artist tried to make and sell more copies after he was given credit for the piece.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45814151)

Verbal agreements are binding. Not as binding or easy to prove as a written agreement but they are still binding.

Yes, and David Scott hat problems to keep the terms of his side of the contract. And thus Paul van Hoeydonck didn't feel bound by his side anymore.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Toad-san (64810) | about 9 months ago | (#45813527)

And he still doesn't get it. At the Smithsonian event (barely attended by 40 people, probably mostly the artist's entourage):

"Van Hoeydonck retells the origin story of Fallen Astronaut with a mix of pride and hurt. He is still upset at having to remain quiet after Apollo 15. "

It's a crappy little piece of work, I must say. I submit that I (and probably any of you) could guide a 12-year-old into replicating that with some aluminum scrap and a jigsaw.

Why doesn't someone do that? And politely ask the Chinese to send it along with their next rover? I'll bet they'd do it :-)

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 9 months ago | (#45812203)

I would think that the person who made the sculpture knows best what it was meant for.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812301)

Even if it was made on commission?

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45814167)

It wasn't made on commission.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812305)

No, that would be the person who commissioned the work.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45814173)

It wasn't made on commission. So what?

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

garyok (218493) | about 9 months ago | (#45812465)

You're assuming that the art is solely the product of the sculptor but it's not. The piece is a collaboration between Scott and Van Hoeydonck. Without Scott to commission (in whatever sense), transport, and arrange the installation, then neither the sculpture or the the plaque (Van Hoeydonck's sense of artistic fulfillment notwithstanding) would have had a lot of significance.

If you want to get all classical greek about it, Van Hoeydonck, controlled the material and formal causes of the installation but Scott controlled the effective cause and, without Scott, there could not have been a teleological cause for the piece. So Scott definitely gets equal standing weighing in on "what it was meant for".

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 9 months ago | (#45812789)

I would say the person who commissioned the scupture knows best what it was meant for.

I say that as someone who has been commissioned to make various artworks. I can confirm that it's a weird feeling walking with muddy shoes all over what you considered to be one of your best works. But it's work for hire - not really my business.

Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (1)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#45814113)

Wrong. That was not how van Hoeydonck got involved in this. And if that was the sole reason, David Scott took the figurine to the Moon, he totally failed to tell van Hoeydonck about it.

It's not easy to understand something that was never explained to you.

looking in the wrong place (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45812023)

The most interesting art on the Moon is the full-size replica of the Deutschlandhalle, built on the dark side.

It's where the Nazi Moon Olympics are held every four years, without any Jesse Owenses to spoil the fun.

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 9 months ago | (#45812811)

[Citation needed] [xkcd.com]

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 9 months ago | (#45812837)

I'll be happy to attend said Olympics so long as I get to meet Julia Dietze [imdb.com]

They taught you bad history. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45812947)

This is a bit of jingoistic propraganda originating from the US during that time. It doesn't bother me, but the lack of self-reflection on it that it's still parroted does.

One should keep in mind Jesse Owens was treated worse upon returning to American than he was in Germany. In his own words.

"Hitler didn't snub me -- it was [FDR] who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." - Jesse Owens, quoted in Triumph, a book about the 1936 Olympics by Jeremy Schaap

Guy went back to the states, had to stay in different hotel rooms or not served at all, unlike Europe, still treated like a "nigger".

http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth10.htm [about.com]

Which brings us to another Olympic myth. It is often stated that Jesse Owens' four gold medals humiliated Hitler by proving to the world that Nazi claims of Aryan superiority were a lie. But Hitler and the Nazis were far from unhappy with the Olympic results. Not only did Germany win far more medals than any other country at the 1936 Olympics, but the Nazis had pulled off the huge public relations coup that Olympic opponents had predicted, casting Germany and the Nazis, falsely, in a positive light. In the long run, Owens' victories turned out to be only a minor embarrassment for Nazi Germany.

Re:They taught you bad history. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45814367)

Sometimes, a minor embarrassment is plenty good.

Anyway, we don't have to guess. We have actual documentary film footage of Hitler's reaction to Jesse Owens' winning the gold medals:

http://youtu.be/UU_GhqVgc9M [youtu.be]

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

Toad-san (64810) | about 9 months ago | (#45813509)

I thought that was the KongressHalle !

The original still stands, you know, so it won't be hard to check:

http://www.kubiss.de/kulturreferat/reichsparteitagsgelaende/englisch/innenhof_kongresshalle.htm [kubiss.de]

Re:looking in the wrong place (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45814311)

I thought that was the KongressHalle !

You're probably right. I was just randomly picking a Wiemar olympic stadium in order to make a lame joke.

My fact-checking department is off for the holidays.

hubris and strange misunderstandings (3, Insightful)

obtuse (79208) | about 9 months ago | (#45812027)

Is this a promotional piece for the artist? Interesting that van Hoeyndonck's pride isn't in his chubby tuning fork, but in conning other people into doing a tremendous amount of work for him. "I am the only human being who has been able to get a sculpture to the moon." That, and the tendency of the Apollo era astronauts to be stand-up guys, makes me skeptical of skewing all those misunderstandings in his favor. They negotiated pretty carefully with the stamp dealer, but didn't discuss the intention of the piece or marketing of copies or any timeline? I don't feel sorry for the guy, and am a little irked that this promotion will likely make him a pile of money.

Re:hubris and strange misunderstandings (1)

fermion (181285) | about 9 months ago | (#45812593)

Artists that make money during their lifetime by doing art tend to be pretty aggressive. Most consumers of art do not tend to belive living artists should be well compensated, perhaps only thinking that consumables and a minimum wage is required. Artists have to aggressively create a value added.

We can idealize astronauts and space, but ultimately we are all just humans trying to make a living. Astronauts do this by leveraging the opportunities they were given by the taxpayer. Hard earned opportunities, but taxpayer funded opportunities nevertheless. To say that we are going to believe one person over another, or deny one person his livelihood just because we find it inconvenient, is really a limited view.

Re:hubris and strange misunderstandings (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45815035)

Wrong. Most people do not understand why money should be wasted on crap. Most art today is crap, created by people without without talent or technique. For the last century, artists has strived to alienate the great unwashed masses, and they have succeeded to the point that most people see no esthetic value in it. Today, art is like collecting baseball cards for the rich - the only value is in financial speculation by the Wall Street types that the artistic types despise.

BTW, the "statue" looks like a poorly thought out key chain ornament you can find in any airport gift shop. I suspect like many modern "artists" he handed a crude sketch to a metal worker to build for him.

Re:hubris and strange misunderstandings (2)

cusco (717999) | about 9 months ago | (#45815191)

The Apollo 15 crew had made the same arrangements as previous crews, that nothing they carried would be sold until all crew members retired from the space program. Unfortunately for them the people they worked with were not as trustworthy as those of previous crews.

not art (0)

ray_field (2214320) | about 9 months ago | (#45812051)

Very few examples of form and function are this clear: as art, it's garbage, not in the least interesting in itself -- the word "generic" comes to mind -- and the motives and behavior of this creepy, untalented sculptor completely bear this out. As a memorial, it's touching and appropriate and a considerate gesture on Scott's behalf.

And the undangerous Belgians (5, Funny)

freax (80371) | about 9 months ago | (#45812081)

“The astronauts told me that when they met Nixon later he asked them, ‘The artist—he’s a Democrat?’ They said, ‘No, he’s Belgian,’ and he said, ‘OK.’

Apollo 12 Moon Museum might have been first ... (5, Interesting)

danomatika (1977210) | about 9 months ago | (#45812279)

Don't forget the allegedly smuggled "Moon Museum" etching on Apollo 12 [popsci.com] . Andy Warhol penis sketch FTW.

This somewhat bizarre story stems from research conducted by Colombia University historian Gwen Wright, whose PBS show History Detectives unearthed evidence that a tiny, penny-sized ceramic chip etched with six sketches – one each from Warhol, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain and Forrest "Frosty" Myers – landed on the moon with the Apollo 12 mission and is still there today.

Re:Apollo 12 Moon Museum might have been first ... (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 9 months ago | (#45813483)

Mod parent up! I was hoping to hear about more space art projects. Does anyone know of any more?

Not the first (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814123)

The US flag is a piece of art.

Any Flag, really.

Psy Op Google bomb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45814305)

please tell us about the real structures on the moon, you know, the 7 mile high ones .

Not the first (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#45814365)

The US flag is a work of art.

Better Choice (1)

neglogic (877820) | about 9 months ago | (#45814813)

The MTV "Moon Man" would have been far better statue than that piece of junk.

Not a sculpture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45814989)

Sorry, but a 3.5 inch toy is not a sculpture. It's a toy. And besides that most toys look better than this thing.

Re:Not a sculpture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45815203)

The Inuit soapstone sculptors would like a word with you. Don't forget, they're carnivores and eat everything...
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