Smithsonian Books, Hardcover, 9781588342645, 224pp.
Publication Date: July 6, 2009
Alan Bean, Painting Apollo: First Artist on Another World captures humankind's adventure in space through the eyes and emotions of the only artist who has ever been there. Through a brilliant display of color and craftsmanship, Alan Bean shares his unique perspective, conveying what only eleven other humans have experienced, in a way that only he can. As Alan Bean writes, “The art I make now is the beginning of a new category in the progression of art history, art of human experiences off our home planet, Earth. I have the honor and responsibility of being first.”
Featuring 120 of Alan Bean's luminous paintings in a starkly dramatic presentation and paired with quotes from some of the most brilliant and adventurous minds throughout history, the book explores the majesty of humanity's near spiritual drive to explore the limits of our imagination and technical capabilities. Flight manager extraordinaire Gene Kranz of Apollo 13 fame recalls the historical drama of the Apollo era from his unique eyewitness perspective on the ground. Legendary art critic Donald Kuspit places the work in the context of contemporary art and landscape painting. Finally, author William Fox, an expert on the dynamics of art and cognition, places Alan Bean in a long lineage of artists and explorers, from Thomas Moran and Ferdinand Hayden in Yellowstone, to Edward Wilson alongside Robert Falcon Scott in the Antarctic. But Alan Bean, our first ever guide to a wholly other world, is artist and astronaut in one.
Alan Bean is an American legend. Famous as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 and the fourth man to set foot on the moon, Bean also served as Commander of the 59-day Skylab 3 Space Station mission. Alan Bean and his story have featured on numerous television talk shows, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and many more. He lives in Houston, Texas.
“These paintings capture the spirit of our highest hopes and aspirations. As a nation we set our sights to accomplish a near-impossible goal of walking on the moon. Only one artist was present to bear witness and tell the story.”—Buzz Aldrin
“Alan Bean and his astroartistry recreate the drama and excitement of man's exploration of the moon as could only be chronicled by one who had been there.”—Neil A. Armstrong
“What one must understand about Al Bean is he is the only artist to have ever walked on the moon. No poet has ever been to the lunar surface, nor any journalist, architect, nor songwriter. In the realm of the arts, it has fallen upon Bean to be the one moonwalker to turn hard data brought back from the moon into something other than numbered photographs. The images that Al has committed to canvas, then, are important, inspiring, and priceless works of art. Not only has he painted the moon, he has been there.”—Tom Hanks