Jeff Koons’ art has landed on the moon with Odysseus

‘Jeff Koons: Moon Phases’ is on the Odysseus lunar lander and due to make a giant NFT leap for the artist, having landed on Thursday 22 February 2024

Jeff Koons in front of Intuitive Machines lunar module, holding his Jeff Koons: Moon Phases sculptures in a clear cubed case
Jeff Koons ahead of the launch of Intuitive Machines’s lunar module, holding his artwork destined for the moon, Jeff Koons: Moon Phases
(Image credit: Copyright, Jeff Koons)

We knew space was being commercialised, but shoppable? Jeff Koons has never been short on ambition, and it turns out that the sky is not his limit, as his latest work, Jeff Koons: Moon Phases, touched down on the lunar surface on Thursday 22 February 2024, on board Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lander.

Jeff Koons: Moon Phases – in space, on Earth and an NFT

Jeff Koons Moon Phases artwork, stacked steel balls in clear cube

Jeff Koons: Moon Phases – each of the moon-bound sculptures represents a different phase of the moon, viewed from points on Earth and in space

(Image credit: © Jeff Koons)

Koons’ work set to be installed on the moon comprises 125 miniature (one-inch) stainless-steel sculptures in a cubed array designed and built by 4Space in consultation with the artist. Each mini-moon represents a different phase of the moon as seen from various vantage points on Earth and in space, and each bears the name of a luminary, ranging from Plato to David Bowie via Helen Keller and Ada Lovelace. 

The sculptures will be paired with larger (15.5in) twins (and linked NFTs) that will stay on Earth and be made available through Pace Gallery’s Pace Verso – Koons’ partner for Web3 projects. They landed on the lunar surface at 6.23pm EST (11.23pm GMT), and the journey was followed via Intuitive Machines’ live stream. Nasa TV is also screened live coverage.

Intelligent Machines lunar module before launch

The Odysseus lander module, by Intuitive Machines 

(Image credit: Courtesy Space X)

It all points to a future of lunar endeavour that’s very different from Nasa’s early days. At first glance, though, the 4.3m-high lander that was launched from a SpaceX Falcon 9 looks not unlike its Apollo-era ‘Eagle’ predecessor. There’s that same mix of white and black panels, an array of foil-wrapped sensors and research kit, the same alien mix of bulk and fragility.

Rendering of Jeff Koons’ Moon Phases, metal sphere in clear case

Rendering of Jeff Koons: Moon Phases 

(Image credit: © Jeff Koons)

But look closer and the difference in concept is plain to see, and not just the neater joins and smarter materials. Where Eagle had a simple ‘United States’ badge, Odysseus is logo-heavy, with the most prominent being that of the tech sportswear brand, Columbia, which provided insulation for the propulsion tank on the surface of the lander using ‘Omni-Heat’ reflective material that is used in its collections and derives from the foil blankets developed by Nasa for the Apollo programme. 

Columbia will not be the last brand on the moon – 4Space is promising a raft of luxury brand tie-ups for the future. As so often, though, Arthur C Clark got there first, with the opening sequences of 2001: A Space Odyssey featuring a Pan Am-branded shuttle and a Hilton space station. Space: Retail’s Final Frontier.

Each of Koons’ NFTs is paired with a sculpture on the moon and its partner on Earth. A selection of images, including a shot of Moon Phases on the lunar surface, is also part of the package. All works are branded with Koons’ signature. 

Watch the Odysseus coverage here

James Gurney has written on watches for over 25 years, founding QP Magazine in 2003, the UK’s first home-grown watch title. In 2009, he initiated SalonQP, one of the first watch fairs to focus on the end-consumer, and is regarded as a leading horological voice contributing to news and magazine titles across the globe.