Jeff Koons sculptures launched on a SpaceX mission to the moon.

Yesterday, SpaceX launched Jeff Koons’s “Moon Phases” (2024), a series comprising 125 miniature moon sculptures, on a journey to the moon. Traveling aboard a Nova-C Lunar Lander designed by Intuitive Machines, the sculptures are housed in a fully transparent cube. The lunar landing attempt is expected to take place on February 22nd and, if successful, will mark the first time a U.S. spacecraft has reached the moon in more than 50 years.

The “Moon Phases” project by Koons extends beyond its lunar installation, encompassing a trio of components designed to bridge the realms of physical and digital art. Each of the 125 lunar sculptures has an Earth-bound counterpart and corresponding NFT. The sculptures on Earth will feature gemstones to indicate the landing site on the moon.

The series pays homage to historical figures who’ve made significant contributions across different eras and disciplines, with individual sculptures named for luminaries like Plato, Nefertiti, and Artemisia Gentileschi, as well as modern icons such as Andy Warhol and David Bowie. Taken together, “Moon Phases” celebrates human achievements and the beauty of the moon.

Koons’s project is touted as the first “authorized” art installation on the moon. Previously, the crew of the Apollo 15 mission installed an aluminum sculpture by the artist Paul van Hoeydonck to commemorate astronauts who had died during space missions.

Thumbnail: NASA, “The Moon–Crater Kepler and Vicinity,” 1967.