On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first humans ever to set foot on the surface of the Moon.

Moon Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, 1902. Photo courtesy of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, the Geelong Gallery is turning its gaze skyward, with an exhibition celebrating all things lunar. It’s not just the landing itself that is explored – though there are certainly images from the famous NASA mission – but the many facets of the Moon as depicted in art before, and after, 1969.

“When we go out into the evening, the Moon is constantly shifting in the night sky and our relationship with it is constantly shifting and evolving,” says Geelong Gallery’s Senior Curator Lisa Sullivan. “So I really wanted to invite visitors to think about that as they venture through the exhibition, that the Moon isn’t a static presence, it’s viewed from different perspectives constantly.”

The Moon in art before the landing was a mysterious and distant figure. “Often the artist is using the Moon as a compositional device, to create mood and evoke...