See a Vintage Space Balloon at Apexart Gallery

March 25, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Floating ominously inside the Apexart gallery is a massive, crinkly, mirrored balloon. It is a reconstructed version of NASA’s 1958 “Beacon Inflatable Satellite,” an early “sateloon” prototype that marked the beginnings of human space exploration. The Beacon was a preliminary model for Echo 1, a much larger version launched by NASA in 1960 that was to be “the American Star,” designed to “visually colonize” space, and to be seen in the sky as a reminder of the U.S.’s power and dominion over the U.S.S.R. — who, incidentally, beat NASA to the chase with the launch of Sputnik. Oh, well.

The Beacon is a fitting mascot for Apexart‘s current show, “Exhibition Space,” which explores the onset of the Cold War-era “space race” that sent the world into a frenzy in the late 1950’s. Focusing mainly on the early photos taken of primitive spacecrafts, and of space itself, “Exhibition Space” “considers the aesthetic and conceptual implications of photography during the Space Race and its role in our shifting perception of the universe.” (Image: ArtInfo)

(Image: Art Info)

“Exhibition Space,” various artists, Mar 21- May 11, Apexart, Lower Manhattan