Riverfront Museum opens contemporary photography, moon exhibitions

Digital Originals

PEORIA, Ill. — The Peoria Riverfront Museum is celebrating the opening of two brand-new exhibits.

One exhibit, “Vantage Points: Contemporary American Photography from the Whitney Museum of American Art,” is the first-ever collaboration between the Whitney Museum, the Art Bridges Foundation, and the Peoria Riverfront Museum. The Whitney is a museum located in New York City and collects art by American artists and is widely regarded as the foremost institution of contemporary American art. Art Bridges looks to expand access to American art across the country.

“The Whitney is playing in Peoria for the first time,” said Peoria Riverfront Museum CEO John D. Morris. “Thanks to Alice Walton’s Art Bridges Foundation, we’re able to provide a beautiful new affiliation and relationship allowing great American art to be experienced by the heartland.”

The photographs exhibited in “Vantage Points” span 35 years and represent a rich point in American photography which reveals the expressive capacity of this young medium. It features work from Andy Warhol, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe and several other artists.

“The photographs provide an examination of the impact of photography at a time where the camera has become a mode of both cultural and creative expression for all, elaborating on techniques, meaning, and context in the genre of contemporary photography,” said Riverfront Museum curator Bill Conger.

The exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Additionally, “MOON,” an exhibition featuring an exacting 13-foot diameter illuminated replica of the moon custom made for the Peoria Riverfront Museum by U.K. artist Luke Jerram, as well as Apollo artifacts and a recreated 60s living room.

The giant suspended moon is lit from within and displays a high-resolution depiction of the lunar surface, created using the latest NASA imagery, and can be viewed up close. The art installation is the only one of its kind in the Midwest.

Objects from Apollo missions will be also displayed, including an Apollo 11 heat shield core sample, a flag flown on the moon by the Apollo 16 crew, a spacesuit cover, and artifacts related to Apollo 1, such as Roger B. Chaffee’s flight jacket and medal, and the singed fire boots worn by emergency responders after the tragic Command Module fire.

A piece of the moon and historic moon maps, including a rare original Cassini moon map lent by Adler Planetarium, will also be displayed.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first steps on another world,” said Renae Kerrigan, Dome Planetarium director, who curated the exhibit. “Visitors can study the lunar geology and learn how our moon formed, follow in the steps of the astronauts who walked on its surface, and be inspired by future space exploration.”

Both exhibits debut at 10 a.m. Sept. 14. They both run through Nov. 10.

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