Earthbound Moon

Alex Clausen had a vision, a daydream. During one of many mundane days at his San Francisco office he was surfing the net, dreaming of escape and reconnecting with the land, and purchased a small parcel of land in Texas, sight unseen, for under $500 bucks. A few exploratory artworks later, Earthbound Moon was formed in 2009 with collaborators Amy Sampson, Carson Murdach, Lee Pembleton, and Libby Reed. Earthbound Moon seeks to develop, “links between community arts organizations, artists and municipalities worldwide by creating new ties, and strengthening existing relationships between disparate groups.” The Earthbound Moon team collaborates with artists to create a network of non-traditional, publicly accessible sculptures, starting with that first plot in Texas and soon to be found all around the world.

Earthbound Moon

1st site: Bledsoe (TX) with artist Heidi Hove
2nd site:  Evanston (IL) with artist Jonathan Whitfill
3rd site: Slaton (TX) with artist Scott Oliver forthcoming 2011
4th site: Plainview (TX) with artist Carla Duarte forthcoming 2011
contact/email:  Alex Clausen {alex@earthboundmoon.com} and info@earthboundmoon.com
website:  www.earthboundmoon.com
phone:  415-750-3723
hours:  good question

How is the project operated? For-profit, nonprofit, artist-run, etc.
Earthbound Moon (EbM) is an artist-run project in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization.

How long has it been in existence?
Since Summer 2009.  Our first installation was fall of 2010 in Bledsoe, Texas.

What was your motivation?
To connect people worldwide through a network of public artworks and to live in a solar system terraformed by art.  We are in the process of creating publicly accessible contemporary sculpture by international artists in communities around the world.

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project:
Currently 5 members (2 in San Francisco, 2 in Los Angeles and one in Chicago)
Alex Clausen | San Francisco, CA
Amy Sampson | Los Angeles, CA
Carson Murdach | San Francisco, CA
Lee Sparks Pembleton | Los Angeles, CA
Libby Reed | Chicago, IL

How are programs funded? (membership fees, public funding, sponsors, etc.)
The project is mainly member funded with added help from donors.

Who is responsible for the programming? (Curators, Directors, etc.)
EbM members are responsible for selecting future sites and artists.

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We started with 1 installation in the fall of 2010, with 3 planned this summer and fall.  As we grow, we expect the number of installations per year to grow. Installations may be temporary or permanent, depending on the commissioned artist’s desire.

What kinds of events are usually organized?
An installation is organized around each site, providing an artist with an opportunity to create new site-specific work. Along with the opening of each site, we coordinate a showing of the installing artist’s work, EbM members’ work and work from the community.  Lectures by installing artists are also scheduled.

How is your programming determined?
EbM members bring ideas/artists/sites to the group and discuss how they will work under the goals set forth for the project. While not a strict democracy, the group works through ideas, assesses them for feasibility and decides whether or not to move forward.

Do you accept proposals/submissions?
At this point in time, we don’t accept proposals/submissions. Our process so far has been working from research done my EbM members. This may change as the scope of the project broadens in the future.

What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
The artists that we choose to work with are artists that we think will be challenged by a particular site, and provide something valuable to a community and that makes incredible, thoughtful work.

What’s working? What’s not working?
We’re learning how to create/run an arts organization. The learning curve is pretty steep figuring the ins and outs of curating, logistics, budgeting, raising funds. But we’ve got some very determined folks who are making it work. The installations are getting done, we’re getting property, we’re scheduled out through 2013, so organizationally and logistically we’re getting stuff done. A sticking point is funding and we’re still working out what strategies work best for our organization.

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We hope that with each artist’s installation that we make a genuine connection with that community. This may be in the form of artist’s exchanging ideas or sharing and learning about the community. EbM does not try to dictate what artists create or how they make a connection to each site. We see our role as providing a foundation and support for the artist-community connection.  In commissioning artists, we do endeavor to choose artists from communities where we have sites. This strengthens the sense of a webwork of relationships between our sites.

What idea are you most excited about for the future?
The potential of the network that the project is creating and what comes out of it. And the thought that this project will outlive all of us.Images courtesy of Earthbound Moon._

Before Earthbound Moon, Alex Clausen presented a piece about the plot of land he bought on eBay in the exhibition Sisyphus Office, curated by Jonn Herschend at Skydive Art Space, (an artist-run space I co-direct) in Houston, TX. Here, Herschend and Clausen discuss Clausen’s installation of the piece inside NE’A House of Beauty. (May 7, 2009)


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  1. Eric Ainsworth

    I cannot express how entirely random this sign in Bledsoe Texas is. I grew up in Bledsoe and my family owned a lot of land very near to the pasture that sign is in. That land would indeed have been a bargain in fact the artist probably paid too much for it. I used to swim with my one friend in a concrete reservoir tank near there, and I can remember being chased by a bull that was in another nearby section. But to say that these plots are near is a stretch, they are within a few miles at least. But in all my wanderings never visited the patch of land where this sign now stands. It is such that land is so remote and unremarkable that even in my endless bored childhood wanderings in search of excitement I never crossed it. At the time that the population of Bledsoe had so declined, I thought it must be the most boring place on earth. I used to dream that someone would come along and build an amusement park just outside of town. But even at the naive age of 8 I knew that someone would have to be insane to do such a thing. So it is eerie that someone out of the blue decides to build something out in that pasture. If it had been there when I was a kid I am sure I would have eventually discovered it and been fascinated and mystified by it.

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