Jackie Haxthausen, “Astronaut Dreams,” 2021. Digital photograph.

On Exhibit: ‘Celestial Imaginings’ at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum

The start of a celebration of the stars that will take over the entire Louisiana Art & Science Museum in honor of the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium’s 20th anniversary, Celestial Imaginings: Artists Exploring the Galaxies is the first of three exhibitions that will be on view in the coming months. Featuring the work of eight contemporary artists including Rachel Brumer, Jackie Haxthausen, Meagan Moore, Nick Hobbs, Jedidiah Dore, Eleanor Owen Kerr, Dawn DeDeaux and Ophelia Chambliss, Celestial Imaginings explores the creators’ own imaginings about space and the galaxies through their unique mediums and informed by scientific processes and devices, such as the James Webb telescope.

“Meagan Moore’s piece is based on the idea of the Webb telescope, using shapes like hexagons and mirrors informed by the telescope itself,” curator Tracey Barhorst explains. “It’s an interactive piece that people can walk into and be a part of.”

That connection through the works is what Barhorst and the rest of the LASM team are hoping to foster. An interest in the cosmos is nothing new, with even ancient cave drawings hinting at early humans looking up and pondering what lies beyond. With that in mind, the exhibitions’ works are a celebration of the common human experience and the wonder of the skies above.

“We’ve even coordinated with NASA recently,” Barhorst notes. “Through their Astrocamp program, we have been able to start developing a relationship that will help us find new planetarium shows, special objects, speakers and more that will help to increase and enrich our programming.”

This year’s 38th LASM Gala ties into the planetarium’s anniversary, with the event taking on a celestial “Out of This World” theme. Set for October 7, the gala will see the revealing of 20 “Stars of BR” portraits of local leaders and philanthropists created by photographer Jackie Haxthausen using AI technology. The event will also signal the unveiling of the Art of Looking Up exhibition, which will feature six limited Salvador Dali prints from his Cosmos series.

“We’ve been working on this for months,” Barhorst notes. “And we can’t wait to see it all come together on October 6.”

Tickets for the gala are available at lasm.org.