Apollo 11 Moon Landing Art Activity Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg

50 years ago this week, people around the world held their breath and waited as something surreal and remarkable happened for the first time in history.

Astronauts were sent to explore the moon!

In 1969, artist Robert Rauschenberg was invited by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to attend the Apollo 11 Launch. The NASA Art Program asked him to create artwork to celebrate and commemorate the historic event.

Making art for the first manned spaceflight to the moon was no small task, and Rauschenberg needed to learn more.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Art Activity Inspired by the art of Robert Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg was granted unlimited access to the Cape Canaveral facilities where he spoke with astronauts, took in the Florida landscape, and studied official NASA documents, photographs, and technical spec sheets.

Inspired by what he saw, he returned home and began his work – creating a series of 34 lithographs titled Stoned Moon.

These prints feature a juxtaposition of human elements and starkness of space technology and machinery.

They portray the delicate balance and contrast between earth and the moon.

The print called Sky Garden (Stoned Moon) - shown below- is monumental in it’s size, measuring 89 inches tall and 42 inches across! It required 2 lithographic stones, 4 aluminum plates and a silkscreen. It was the largest hand pulled lithograph to date when it was printed in 1969.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Art Activity Inspired by the art of Robert Rauschenberg

Have some fun with art this week as you look back at the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

First, introduce your kids to this piece of art and have a conversation. You may ask:

  • what do you see?

  • what does it mean?

  • what story is the artist telling us?

  • let’s consider the elements of art - color, texture, composition

  • if you were invited to tour NASA in July 1969, what kind of art would you make?

Be inspired, and let the project go where your kids take it. It may end up completely different from what Rauschenberg created, and that’s totally fine! Think of this invitation as the launch that begins the artistic voyage and see where the mission takes you!

Join the Art History Kids email list to get weekly inspiration, and instant access to a Robert Rauschenberg mini-bio and full Apollo 11 project guide!

Let’s connect! Join our private Facebook group to chat with other creative families, ask questions in a supportive environment, and show off your kids’ amazing artwork!