There’s a Moon in the Sky, It’s Called the Moon!

Featuring Joey Parlett
Summer 2013
Space 19 (bootprints in the lunarstuff 2), by Joey Parlett,  2010, ink on paper, 12 X 12 inches.

Space 19 (bootprints in the lunarstuff 2), by Joey Parlett, 2010, ink on paper, 12 X 12 inches.

Twin Peaks, by Joey Parlett, 2012, ink on paper, 12 X 12 inches.

Twin Peaks, by Joey Parlett, 2012, ink on paper, 12 X 12 inches.

CURIOUS MATTER is pleased to present “There’s a Moon in the Sky, It’s Called the Moon,” featuring works by Joey Parlett from his Space Drawing series. The exhibition also includes images and objects culled from the Curious Matter archives. To complement the exhibition, our friends at the Jersey City Free Public Library currently have on view in the New Jersey Room a volume from 1652, Cosmographie, a “chorographie and historie of the whole world” by Peter Heylin. According to the card catalogue, it includes a “particularly charming feature… an appendix…describing undiscovered areas as fairyland, the cities of the moon, the New Atlantis and Utopia.” Our exhibition offers a glimpse at how we depict and relate to the brightest object in the night sky. “There’s a Moon in the Sky, It’s Called the Moon” takes its title from The B-52s song. The show will be up for the rest of the summer.

The Moon is our closest and most obvious celestial neighbor. It’s brightness, and the fact that it seems to change shape has inspired myth and speculation throughout the centuries. As science usurped mythology, the Moon became the object of closer study–its movement examined, its phases explained. We began to imagine traveling there. Debate erupted whether there was life on the moon. In 1835, Richard Adams Locke created a sensation when he published that indeed, the Moon was inhabited by strange, flying creatures. Exposed as a hoax a few weeks later, the story inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall” and later Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon”.

Cosmographie, by Peter Heylin, London, 1652. Acquired by the Jersey City Free Public Library on September 25, 1901. According to John Beekman, Assistant Manager at the New Jersey Room, the volume " describes the known world and ends with an appendix on terra incognito, including a section on the peoples of the moon." The volume is on display as a complement to our exhibition.

Cosmographie, by Peter Heylin, London, 1652. The volume will be on display at the Jersey City Free Public Library as a complement to our exhibition.

By the mid 20th century, science had determined that the Moon was little more than barren rock circling our planet. Still, space travel had captured the public imagination. By the 1950’s there were countless popular depictions in all media of what our future in space would be like. In 1969 we had finally set foot on the silver disc of Selene, yet the grandiose plans made by scientists and engineers of mid-century continue to be elusive.

Joey Parlett takes inspiration from NASA radiophotographs of the Moon’s surface and astronaut’s photographs captured while standing on the surface. His reimaging of the joy of exploration and discovery perfectly matches the general elation of expanding horizons and travel many of us share during this time of summer vacations. For us, we’re remaining indoors. The sun has been too hot and too bright. You won’t see us at all, except at night. Evening is the only time we feel relief from a sort of heat-induced delirium. We’re not going to do anything either. Our sole activity will be to stare at the moon – it calms and relaxes us. Should you like to join us for a spell, please visit Sundays noon to 3pm. Or, drop a line and make an appointment to visit during the cooler evening hours.

Curious Matter
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Joey Parlett lives and works in Brooklyn. He was born and raised in north-eastern Ohio. His drawing work explores the synthesis of popular culture with art history and personal narratives.