The Space Machine Found on the Moon (undated, artist unknown) was discovered during the last few moments of the Apollo 17 mission to the surface of the moon. Later—in interviews—astronaut Elizabeth Johannson claimed to be the one who spotted it, stating “I’ve always been attracted to shiny things.” After being transported back to earth, the machine was detained and quarantined by the United States government. For ten years it was studied, scanned, probed, and analyzed by scientists and leading scholars. The machine would not open and no evidence was gathered as to what it might contain, although after vigorous shaking a handful of mysterious tokens fell out. In 1982, the government released a statement saying that the space machine—although intriguing—presented no terroristic or alien threat. The machine was then handed over to religious leaders, and in 1990, was the subject of the world’s first mass exorcism. Over 100 priests gathered around it, chanting and praying in an attempt to cast its “evil spirits” out. When the religious community could not force the machine to open, it was pronounced Satanic. Six years later, the space machine was purchased by a wealthy patron of the arts during a “fire sale” designed to save the church from impending financial distress. The machine—to him—was not an instrument of terror or Satan, nor did it contain secrets of the universe. He considered the space machine an object of pure art in its truest form. It remained in his private collection until his death in 2008, after which the machine was donated to an undisclosed art museum. During a press interview, the curator of this collection (who has, to this day, chosen to remain anonymous) revealed that they were mystified. “We have no idea what it is,” she said. “...or why it was donated to us. We never knew how to display it, or where, or with what other pieces. It’s just sitting in a storage room in the basement.”
This one-of-a-kind work of art, discovered on the surface of the moon in 1972, is now on display to the public for the first time ever.
Exhibition Tour Dates and Locations The exhibition was created by the Modern Foundation® and organized for travel by the Triangle Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (TITES). “The Space Machine,” its national tour, and related programs are made possible by the Carlo Rossi Fund. The exhibition will travel to 13 cities through 2015, launching in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the Modern Art Studio. It will debut for the first time Friday the 13th of February from 6-9pm.