Nov 27, 2009

Installing Bransby's 'History of Navigation'

Laurel Swab and Aaron Jakos installing Eric Bransby mural panelsWhen you enter the Fine Arts Center for the NASA ART program (opening Dec. 18), the first space art you’ll see is Eric Bransby’s The History of Navigation mural in the Glass Corridor. It depicts significant moments from seafaring navigation to the future of cosmic navigation. The mural was commissioned in 1968 and captures the excitement and energy of the space race. Eric was working on this sequence of paintings a year before humans set foot on the moon in 1969, yet sections of the mural predict current aspects of exploration such as an orbiting telescope like Hubble and future initiatives such as permanent settlement of the moon.

Laurel Swab and Aaron Jakos are pictured installing one of the eight panels. To best protect the mural, we decided to hang it a bit higher than we usually would. It is on loan from the Air Force Academy, and originally hung around the interior of their planetarium’s atrium – that’s why the panels are slightly curved. Eric has always been interested in making his murals an extension of the existing architecture, and although we have them hung on a flat wall, the curved panels create an unexpected visual dynamic. Another unique aspect that you’ll notice on the mural is that Eric also created actual depth in each image by raising parts of the surfaces. This epic mural really sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition experience!

— Blake Milteer, Museum Director, Curator of American Art and the NASA ART exhibition

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