This is the last week to see Tom Sachs’ installation at the Park Avenue Armory (closes June 17), and if you’re into retro-future space stuff, you should definitely go. Space Program: Mars, set up as a staging area for a mission to Mars, fills the 55,000 square foot armory with everything needed to survive on that planet, including exploratory vehicles, scientific research tools, food providers, and even the landing module. I was lucky enough to go to the opening, where drinks were served in dry ice containers with astronaut themed ingredients like Tang. I really love this sort of earnest, homemade space exploration stuff, especially in art installation form, but I tried to act cool because so many awesome people were there, including David Byrne, Bill Cunningham, Michael Stipe, and Kanye West (probably not too surprising because pretty much every song of his mentions a space ship). I’ve visited the exhibit a couple of times since the opening, because as you know I like to obsess over things. Enjoy the photos and check it out by this Sunday! Oh and if you go tonight (Tuesday), it’s free! And I might be there.
On one of my visits, the astronauts were cutting a hole in the Armory floor, an extraction overseen by the artist Tom Sachs (on the left). You might notice that he has some awesome shoes, which are part of a line he did with Nike of items made from space materials. They are awesome (if predictably expensive).
Attendees to the exhibit can take an indoctrination test to get access to the module. At the opening they were only offering the oral section (there is a written as well), but when I passed I got this piece of paper stamped officially with NASA. (It helps to know the order of the planets and that science is basically magic.) Popcorn was served in module-stamped bags for the video screenings, which included things like this:
There is also a small space museum outside the main Armory area, including items like this astronaut casket (which I believe was called the “Death of Marat,” because who doesn’t like an art history joke?). I also recommend at least buying something small from the gift shop, because the bag it comes in is worth it alone. I got a space poster, so I can remember the astronauts forever.