NFTs in Space: How Far is Too Far?

Celia Lee

One of the world’s most expensive artists, Jeff Koons, recently announced his project, Moon Phases, that manages …

One of the world’s most expensive artists, Jeff Koons, recently announced his project, Moon Phases, that manages to bring together the fields of art, space travel, and crypto. This project will be made up of a series of NFTs produced by Koons, a collection that will be “historically meaningful”, says the artist, “rooted in humanistic and philosophical thought”. Presented by Koons’ affiliated gallery, Pace, this collection of NFTs will be published on the gallery’s Web3 platform, Pace Verso. Each digital token will be accompanied with a physical sculpture, a group of these correspondents will then be sent into space to be placed on the surface of the Moon to remain there in perpetuity.

To many, this project may sound monumental in its ambitions – afterall, not only is space travel yet to be normalised enough for civilian use, but placing artworks on the Moon just sounds downright absurd. But we might be surprised.


Koons’ sculptures will unlikely be the first pieces of artwork to be ever placed on the Moon. In 1971, commemorating those who have lost their lives in attempts of space exploration, artist Paul van Hoeydonck’s aluminium sculpture, Fallen Astronaut, was placed on the Moon during the Apollo 15 voyage. There is further speculative talk of there being a Moon Museum on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite: a small ceramic wafer housing works by Andy Warhol and other artists, smuggled onto the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 12 expedition. That being said, Koons’ project will be the first-ever officially authorised placement of artworks on the Moon.


But why NFTs? And why the Moon? Koons has spoken about the nature of this collection, hoping to use these NFTs to explore and reflect humanity’s technological advancements – including our endless fascination with space. Now, the choice of NFT art and installations on the Moon makes more sense. However, this whole project still begs the question: how far is too far?


Given the divided opinions on NFTs amongst the public, it is expected that the sculptor’s ambitious project was to gain significant traction across the globe pretty quickly after it was made known to the media. Many concerns about NFTs and cryptos in general translated to critiques of Koons’ Moon Phases, including diversity and representation issues in the NFT world, and issues surrounding environmentalism and carbon emissions. Further yet, many consider Koons’ project as going against the fundamental values of contemporary art – by pandering up to the exclusive few which NFTs and space travel are available to, Moon Phases cannot be further from those anti-establishment sentiments and radical subcultures in society that contemporary art strives to embody.

Nevertheless, what Koons is attempting here may be another “large step for mankind”. If we take into account other advancements in NFTs as well as space travel in the past few years, with Jeff Besos’ space programme, as well as the Dubai-based artist, Sacha Jafri’s similar claim to sending artworks to the moon, it seems very likely that in the foreseeable future, Moon Phases will merely be one amongst a collective.



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