Move over Jeff Koons, another terrible piece of art is headed for the moon

In the ongoing race to ensure that humanity’s extraterrestrial footprint includes the world’s worst artworks, an unremarkable-looking piece by British artist Sasha Jaffrey is getting ready to go to the moon.

Announced last year by Selenian, a company that claims to specialize in “making art in space,” Jaffrey’s moon-themed work “We Rise Together – By the Light of the Moon” is an engraving on gold-plated aluminum that features a man and woman surrounded by a scrawling motif of 88 hearts in various sizes. It will be carried on a United Launch Alliance rocket powered by engines developed by Jeff Bezos’ aerospace technology company Blue Origin and deposited by an Astrobotic lunar rover. When the work physically lands on the lunar surface, “there is a slight beep in the control room,” Jaffrey said CNN, after which 88 NFTs will be released to Earth. And while this description sounds like something generated by a drunk ChatGPT bot, not even artificial intelligence has the power to come up with such bad ideas.

“The original artwork was this beautiful heart motif,” Jaffrey explained. “Two figures entwined, rejoining, and flora, fauna blooming around them.” This composition is said to capture “the unification of humanity through love and compassion” — although in reality, if you receive a Valentine’s Day card with this image, you will immediately burn it and block the sender in your phone. The main benefit of sending this art into space, from my perspective, is that it greatly reduces the chances that someone will ever have to look at it in person.

Jaffrey is known for creating a Guinness Book of World Records 17,000-square-foot canvas humbly titled “The Journey of Mankind,” which he created at the Atlantis Palm Hotel in Dubai and sold for $62 million. (The current record holder for largest canvas, according to the Guinness Book website, is Emad Salehi of Qatar as of December 2022.) The website of the Leila Heller Gallery in Chelsea lists Jaffrey’s work as part of the collections of Barack Obama, George Clooney and “ the UAE ruling family’. Now it seems the artist has gone from making art so big it can be seen from space to sending works directly into it. I’d say it’s really cool to see an artist grow in their practice like this, but I think we can all agree that’s definitely not the case.

Poster by Selenian for the project (photo via Selenian)

According to reports, the artifact was commissioned by British space robotics technology Spacebit and will be sent using NASA’s Commercial Payload Services, which offers “rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services from US companies” for projects that “advance science capabilities , exploration or commercial development of the Moon.” (A NASA representative quickly clarified on Hyperallergic (that the agency “has no involvement or oversight” in the arts initiative.)

Of course, space art is a competitive field, with a lot of news made around last year’s announcement that Jeff Koons would be the first “authorized” artist to send (crappy) artwork to the moon. Although the project, titled “Moon Phases,” generated a lot of press and several ground art objects and NFTs, there appears to be no evidence that any of Koons’ sculptures were actually launched into orbit. (Hyperallergic (has reached out to Pace Gallery for comment on the opening of Koons’ space gallery.)

They better get going because billionaire Elon Musk’s proposed tour, which is reportedly on the schedule for Space X in 2023, is said to be right around the corner. It would be so embarrassing to send a bunch of people into space and not have crappy art for them to look at. Instead, they might be forced to, I don’t know, THINK ABOUT THE ENDLESS MYSTERY OF THE FUCKING COSMOS.

So let’s review: Billionaires have grown from loving crappy art to inflicting it on an unsuspecting (and thankfully indifferent) universe; Sacha Jaffrey has gone from creating (arguably) world-record-setting great art to a little out-of-this-world art; and the people running the greatest concentration of wealth on the planet continue to have no better ideas of what to do with it than shoot it into space. It paints a bleak picture of the future – which, by the way, is the motto of all current endeavors in space art.

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