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Press Release - March 31, 2015
Archive of original Cosmos television show art offered for the first time at auctionConsigned by artist Jon Lomberg, Carl Sagan's longtime collaborator on the groundbreaking 1970s television show; presented by Heritage Auctions, April 8, in New York
"This is an unprecedented offering of art and ephemera that has double cachet," said James Gannon, Director of Rare Books at Heritage. "First, it's important scientific material relating to two very important figures. Second, it's got amazing Pop Culture importance, relating as it does to Cosmos, one of the most important TV shows of all time."
The archive, mainly the period from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, has been consigned by Lomberg himself, who has kept the material together because he sees it as all being of a single goal: scientific education.
"Sagan had a feel for how to relate complex ideas in an undeniably clear way," said Lomberg. "He was uniquely gifted in that regard. This archive is a model for how it can and should be done. There are so many issues people face today — Climate change, Ebola, genetically modified food — all of which are really scientific topics and the understanding of these things today has to do with Scientific Literacy. As an example of how such complex ideas can be relayed clearly, from the initial idea to the finished product, this is a behind-the-scenes look at how our collaboration occurred."
The incredible archive includes, among many things, 62 original signed paintings, drawings, and sketches, 47 signed one-of-a-kind prints of special effect paintings used in the series, four signed retouched photos from the series, 13 sheets of signed storyboards (including dozens of drawings), approximately 20 documents and notes related to the series, production photos and one stereoscopic viewer with slides testing dimensionality of the "Milky Way Approach" sequence from the series. The original artwork is on various subjects, including alternate designs for the logo of Cosmos, alternate designs for the "Spaceship of the Imagination," many different paintings of different types of galaxies and cosmic phenomena, DNA, and a large painting of the Viking Lander on the surface of Mars. Also included are a series of beautiful and groundbreaking storyboards Lomberg designed in collaboration with famed Disney artist Frank Armitage.
Two of the most interesting items in the collection are the original design sketch of the "Cosmic Calendar," used in the series to illustrate the vast age of the universe and an original Sagan drawing of two terms of the Drake Equation for estimating the number of active and communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way.
Lomberg is one of the most accomplished scientific artists of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. He also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Creative Technical Crafts for the work his team did on Cosmos — documentation of the award is part of the archive — and he holds the rare distinction of having had an asteroid officially renamed Asteroid Lomberg in honor of his work in popularizing astronomy. It all began, however, in 1972, when Lomberg showed some of his artwork to Sagan, who asked him to illustrate his book, The Cosmic Connection (1973). It led to a 25 year collaboration between the two.
"From the first time we met, though I'm an artist and he's a scientist, our vision was very harmonious," said Lomberg. "We could do things together neither of us could do on our own."
Lomberg's work also includes designing artwork and material for various NASA interstellar exploratory missions. He was Design Director for the legendary "Voyager Golden Records," the gold-plated copper record albums that were mounted in both Voyager spacecraft, each launched by NASA in 1977.
"It's just possible that the first images of Earth and Mankind seen by an extraterrestrial civilization will be those done by Lomberg," said Gannon."
Lomberg's current work ties directly into his revolutionary work on the Voyager program. He is currently leading the One Earth Message Project, which is a unique and updated spin on the Voyager Gold Record as it directly relates to the New Horizon spacecraft currently in orbit around Pluto.
"Unlike Voyager, New Horizons left earth without a message," said Lomberg, "an oversight, in my opinion. I suggested a way to remedy that, and the mission and NASA love the idea."
The One Earth Message project, as proposed to NASA by Lomberg, is going to devise a message that can be left in the computer in the event that it is ever picked up by alien civilizations.
"Except this time," said Lomberg, "rather than being the work of just six of us — rather than just what Carl Sagan and I think should be known about earth — we're going to crowd source the message and let people all over the world submit ideas and stories and images, which will then be voted on and placed in the message."
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