Physical Description: 74 items
Scope and Content Note
This series consists of original artwork, including seventy paintings, one lithograph, one sculpture, and drawings, the bulk
of which were created in the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the works in this series were commissioned by Ames for practical purposes,
unlike NASA's art program launched in 1962 by administrator James Webb, in which renowned artists were invited to enrich the
historical record of the momentous occasion of humankind's ascent into space. Ames hired local artists to depict projects
and technologies pursued by the center's scientists and engineers. The works were used as illustrations for technical reports
and presentations, and for publicity pieces, such as brochures, press releases and other informational handouts. The Public
Information or Public Affairs Office would locate, hire, and pay the artists, and provide reproductions of their works, while
scientists or engineers from the various units, such as the Pioneer Project Office, Space Projects Division, or Space Sciences
Division, would help define the images they wanted illustrated. According to artist Rick Guidice, who produced the majority
of the pieces in this series, scientists and engineers provided technical instruction and sometimes sketches of what they
needed. And, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Public Affairs Office would pay artists such as Guidice about $800-$1500 per painting.
Once completed, many of the works were professionally photographed by Ames photographers. While photographic reproductions
were systematically numbered, cataloged, and archived, the paintings themselves were not, so this series represents a small
portion of artwork commissioned by Ames.
Subjects range from astronomical artworks illustrating spacecraft and space scenes, to aircraft, SETI installations, and existing
or proposed research facilities. The Pioneer Program managed by Ames is heavily represented in this series, with depictions
of spacecraft, trajectories, and planetary encounters. While most provide concrete representations of technologies and research
endeavors, some convey concepts, such as human exploration. For example, a collection of paintings and illustrations created
by Rick Guidice for two different brochures juxtaposes the series of Pioneer spacecraft (Pioneers 1-13) flying through space
with images of human exploration technologies over the centuries, such as dog sleds, ocean ships, hot air balloons, and covered
Images of space settlements are also well represented in this series. In the 1970s Ames researched the feasibility of setting
up orbital space colonies in a series of summer studies, the first being a joint study hosted by Ames and Stanford University
in 1975, with Gerard K. O'Neil from Princeton University as a participant. Paintings by Rick Guidice and Don Davis illustrating
the settlement designs came out of these efforts. Depicted are orbital colonies, with their residential and work modules,
farming, animal husbandry, and mining operations, as well as support apparatuses necessary for building, powering, and supplying
Artists identified include Robert Bausch, Chesley Bonestell, Christopher Cross, Don Davis, Carter Emmart, Michael Fornalski,
Gebing, Rick Guidice, Peter Gutkin, Attila Hejja, Paul Hudson, Lucille Maritz Mastin, Ludek Pesek, and Robert Rauschenberg.
The bulk of the items were created by Rick Guidice.
Other items of note are:
- Lucille Maritz Mastin drawing (pencil on linen, 1946) of the Twelve Foot Wind Pressure Tunnel, depicting this NACA-era wind
tunnel in detail, with cutaways exposing the inside and showing machinery, controls, operators, and the wind tunnel propeller
- Robert Rauschenberg lithograph (1970), "White Walk" from the Stoned Moon Series, signed and dated by the artist. Edition 19
of 53, this three-color lithograph represents a celebration of NASA's Apollo mission to the moon. The series was commissioned
by NASA Headquarters as part of the NASA Art Program.
- Chesley Bonestell painting (1976) entitled "Pittsburgh at L-2" signed by the artist. Depicted here is a machine with international
markings docked at an asteroid to conduct mining operations. Three astronauts engaged in a space walk float in formation like
sprightly acrobats at one end of the station, while a red and white spaceship approaches.