Museum Exhibits Never Before Seen Artwork

Barbara Prey, commissioned by NASA—drawing the x-43, the fastest aircraft in the world, right before takeoff. (Photos courtesy of Barbara Prey)

Barbara Prey’s never before seen NASA commissioned paintings and drawings are included in Energy: The Power of Art, as part of the Nassau County Museum of Art’s multidisciplinary new exhibition on Energy.

Included in the show is a large painting of the International Space Station and also an important preliminary study for the International Space Station, which Prey used as a model for the final painting. In addition, there is a drawing for the Columbia Tribute painting, she was commissioned by NASA to paint the commemorative painting of the Columbia tragedy. Also included is a never before seen drawing of the x-43, the fastest aircraft in the world. This is the first time her artwork has been exhibited together or seen outside the studio.

NASA commissioned Prey to paint four paintings for their collection including: the Shuttle Discovery: Return to Flight, The Columbia Tribute, to commemorate the anniversary of the Columbia tragedy, which was unveiled at the National Air and Space Museum anniversary Tribute Dinner in Washington and is on exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center; The International Space Station and the x-43. The x-43 is the fastest aircraft in the world and was included in NASA and the Smithsonian Institution 12 Museum Traveling Exhibition NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration which celebrated NASA’s 50th anniversary and concluded at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Barbara Prey working on her NASA commission at Edwards Airforce Base just before take off of the X-43.

Prey’s NASA commissioned artwork was also included in the recent NASA Art/60 Years exhibit at Space Center Houston and is in the permanent collection of Kennedy Space Center. Her four commissions by NASA are the most for a living female artist.

“Future generations will realize that we have not only the scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but artists worthy to keep them company,” said Dr. H. Lester Cooke, former National Gallery of Art Curator who guided the NASA Arts Program.

Prey, one of America’s most renowned contemporary artists, was recently commissioned by MASS MoCA to create the largest known watercolor painting (8 by 15 feet) for their new building. Prey’s work also resides in the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Historical Society, Kennedy Space Center and the permanent collection of the White House, where she is one of just two living female artists represented.

She has served for the past 10 years as the sole visual artist on the U.S. President-appointed National Council on the Arts, the advisory board to the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists are appointed for their contributions and recognition in American Art. In 2003, her painting of the Diplomatic Reception Room was featured on the White House Christmas card. With dozens of artworks commissioned by government agencies and institutions, such as four paintings for NASA, Prey is a global ambassador for American Art. Tapped annually for the U.S. Art in Embassies program, Prey’s work has been on display in more than 100 U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, including those in Paris, Hong Kong and Madrid. Her painting Gallantly Streaming is currently selected for exhibit in the lobby of the U.S. Mission to the U.N.

Prey earned a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College, where she is an adjunct faculty member, and a Master’s degree from Harvard University. She has received numerous institutional accolades, including a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and the New York State Senate’s “Women of Distinction” Award.

The Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Dr., Roslyn Harbor. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to 12).


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