Magazine article Insight on the News

All aboard the Artrain

Magazine article Insight on the News

All aboard the Artrain

Article excerpt

The touring exhibit, a train crammed with artworks, tours the country by rail.

It started in Ann Arbor, Mich., almost 30 years ago and has picked up steam ever since. Artrain USA was the 1969 brainstorm of Michigan's first lady, Helen Milliken, and E. Ray Scott, then-executive director of the Michigan Council of the Arts, who wanted to bring exhibits from the Detroit Institute of Art to the state's rural residents. The nonprofit organization, which borrows from other museums and has no permanent collection, began touring the country in the mid-1970s.

The current exhibit, "Artistry of Space," features out-of-this-world perspectives of artists from Peter Max to Robert Rauschenberg. Work in the show is grouped by themes: the moon landing, the space shuttle and exploration of the planets. The rolling museum of three cars -- a 1949 New York Central sleeper and twin 1949 Pennsylvania Railroad diners -- also contains offices and a gift shop. Eight staffers travel with the exhibit. Among the works in the show:

* Norman Rockwell's Man's First Step on the Moon. Astronaut Neil Armstrong grasps the left railing of the ladder of the lunar module. In the next moment, his left heel, at a 45-degree angle, will step onto the green-gray, powdery Moon, with Earth as a thin crescent of white in the background.

* Andy Warhol's Moonwalk. The pop artist depicts a pinkish, blue-blurred Buzz Aldrin next to a neon-looking American flag backed by jetblack darkness.

* Henry Casselli's reflective When Thoughts Turn Inward. …

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