Mars: Astronomy and Culture


“My hope is that the exhibition helps people better understand the science and beauty of the only other planet in our solar system that could support human life, as well as the importance of Mars in culture during the last 120 years.”

- Jay Belloli, Exhibition Organizer and Curator

Introduction

The planet Mars has fascinated humanity since early in human history. The Chinese observed it before 1000 BCE. The Egyptians knew of the red planet as well, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire was aware of it by the sixth century BCE. It enthralls us even more now because it is the only planet in the solar system that could be made to support human life.

Beginning in the mid-1600s, scientists first created astronomical drawings of Mars. This was followed by ground-based photographs in the early 20th century, and then those from numerous spacecraft, the first of which began to reveal details of the Martian surface in 1965. With the recent discoveries of the Curiosity rover and continued popularity of science fiction film and literature, people all over the world are engaged with the exploration and popular culture of Mars.

Mars: Astronomy and Culture brings together photographs, drawings, movie posters, book covers and video projections. In doing so, it connects the recent scientific images of Mars to the entire history of photography of the red planet, and to the drawings by famous astronomers that preceded the development of photography. Crucially, it shows the impact of Mars on popular culture even before the twentieth century.

This full-disk image of Mars from Viking 1 Orbiter showcases the north polar cap. June 8, 1976 | NASA/JPL/USGS

This full-disk image of Mars from Viking 1 Orbiter showcases the north polar cap. June 8, 1976 | NASA/JPL/USGS

Mars: Astronomy and Culture is presented in partnership between the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery, the Center Art Gallery at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and The Holland Museum in Holland, Michigan.

This exhibition was curated by Pasadena Arts Council for the Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. It is a project of the Pasadena Arts Council’s EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship Program.


Resources

The planet Mars has fascinated humanity since early in human history. It continues to inspire us through astronomy, mythology, physics, science fiction, space exploration, pop culture and more. This exhibition brings together photographs, drawings, movie posters, book covers and video projections. 

 

Mars 2030 VR

This is Mars 2030, a VR experience of the Red Planet produced by Fusion Media Group in partnership with NASA and MIT’s AeroAstro Lab. Mars 2030 allows you to wander around 15 square miles of Martian landscape. You can plant a flag, pick up some rocks, drive a rover, and visit a habitat.

Come experience Mars 2030 VR in the GVSU Art Gallery during the run of this exhibition.


Featured Events

The Art Gallery partners with faculty, staff, and community members in order to offer unique perspectives to visitors of the gallery. For more information about the Art Gallery's current events and programming visit our events page. For questions regarding upcoming programming or if you would like to inquire about partnership programming call (616) 331-2563 or email gallery@gvsu.edu

Curator Talk with Jay Belloli

September 13, 2018; 2:00 p.m.

GVSU Art Gallery
1121 Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts
Grand Valley State University
Allendale MI, 49401



 

Opening Reception

September 13, 2018; 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

GVSU Art Gallery
1121 Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts
Grand Valley State University
Allendale MI, 49401

In partnership with the Fall Arts Celebration, join us to celebrate the opening of Mars: Astronomy and Culture.

Exhibition Dates

August 24 - November 9, 2018


Hours and Location

GVSU Art Gallery
1121 Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts
Grand Valley State University
Allendale MI, 49401

M - F 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
THUR 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM 

Admission is free and open to the public.

Contact

For special accommodation, please call:
616-331-2563

For exhibition inquires, please email:
zwartjo@gvsu.edu

For learning and engagement opportunities, please email:
burnssta@gvsu.edu



Page last modified September 17, 2018