The planet Mars has fascinated humanity since early in human history. The Chinese observed it before 1000 BCE. The Egyptians knew of the red planet as well, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire was aware of it by the sixth century BCE. Mars enthralls us even more now because it is the only planet in the solar system that could support human life.
Beginning in the mid-1600s, scientists first created astronomical drawings of Mars. With the recent discoveries of the Curiosity rover and continued popularity of science fiction film and literature, people all over the world are engaged with the exploration and popular culture of Mars.
Mars: Astronomy and Culture brings together photographs, drawings, movie posters, book covers, and video projections and connects the recent scientific images of Mars to the entire history of photography of the red planet. Crucially, it shows the impact of Mars on popular culture even before the 20th century.
This exhibition was curated by Pasadena Arts Council for the Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. It is a project of the Pasadena Arts Councils EMERGE Fiscal Sponsorship Program.