The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. Photography played a significant role both in preparing for the mission and in shaping the cultural consciousness of the event. An exhibition of some 50 works will include a selection of photographs from the unmanned Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter missions that led up to Apollo 11.
The landmark event will be represented by glass stereographs, taken on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, showing close-up views of three-inch-square areas of the lunar surface, as well as iconic NASA and press photographs of the astronauts that were disseminated widely in the wake of the mission's success. Additionally, a select survey of lunar photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries features works ranging from Warren de la Rue's late 1850s glass stereograph of the full moon to a suite of Charles Le Morvan's rich, velvety photogravures from Carte photographique et systematique de la lune, published in 1914, which attempted to systematically map the entire visible lunar surface. These photographs, from the 19th century to the "space-age" 1960s, merged art and science and transformed the way that we envision and comprehend the cosmos.
The exhibition is curated by Diane Waggoner, curator of 19th-century photographs, National Gallery of Art.