Arthur Woods

Art and Gravity
My interest in space and physics had a major influence on my art, especially on my approach to painting. I learned that gravity on Earth has to do with the force that the acceleration of Earth imparts to objects on or near its surface. Gravity, as a terrestrial environmental factor, may hardly be considered as essential to the creation of art, yet it has profoundly influenced and determined both the conception and the perception of art since its beginnings.
Basically gravity gives us an “up and down” orientation to the environment in which we live. Therefore, paintings, particularly those with a rectangular shape usually have a “natural” top and bottom orientation because this reflects how the viewer and the artist perceive the world we live in.
I began to explore how gravity influenced my painting with a series of works that had a six-sided geometric shape.

The Voyager Series PaintingsVoyager Series
Acrylic on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm

These two-dimensional works could then be mounted on a wall in any position as there was no natural “top or bottom” orientation. The shading of some the triangular areas created by the intersections of the lines, added a perceptual component to the works which created a three-dimensional effect. How the work was positioned imparted a specific uniqueness to its perception as seen in the images of the same painting below.

Sculpture and Gravity
Because they are created in a terrestrial environment, all sculptures have a "resting point" - a point of contact in which their mass interacts with the gravity of the Earth. Sometimes sculptures are fixed to a base so that their appearance seems natural in our gravity dominated environment. Others stand, rest or are fixed to some supporting structure. Even "balloon" or air-filled sculptures that may float in the air are positioned by the force of gravity.
Consciously or unconsciously, artists conceive and carry out their sculptural creations with gravity determining the eventual resting point of the work, and, by so doing, they pre-determine how the sculpture will eventually be perceived and appreciated by the public. Thus the influence of gravity has much to do with our perception and appreciation of sculpture - as our response to its aesthetic "rightness" is based on our own experiences within the terrestrial environment.
I applied these ideas and my painting technique to a series of three-dimensional geometrically shaped objects I call Cosmic Dancers.
The geometric form of these sculptures enabled them to be positioned in different ways. This aspect allowed the sculptures to be viewed from different perspectives and, in relation to their surroundings, the same sculpture could appear as a unique three dimensional form as a result of its varied positions. Depending on the geometric complexity, usually between four and eight resting positions could be found for each sculpture and its interaction with gravity i.e. - its resting point - being the ultimate determining factor.

Reclining Figure

Reclining Dancer
Acrylic on Wood, 25 x 28 x 57 cm

When imagining human civilization extended into outer space, it seems obvious that the art of this civilization will take advantage of its new environment. Much like the influence of gravity has had on the evolution of terrestrial art , the qualities specific to the space environment will have a fundamental effect on both the conception and perception of the artworks designed and realized there. In the zero-gravity (zero-G) or micro-gravity environments of outer space, the influence of gravity disappears and artworks become weightless. As a consequence, the conception, perception and appreciation of an artwork will be altered. For example, a sculpture floating in a zero-G environment can be viewed from an infinite number of perspectives or angles – something that is not normally possible in a typical art setting on Earth.

Cosmonaut Alexander Polischuk and the Cosmic Dancer
Cosmonaut Alexander Polischuk and the Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station, 1993

On May 22, 1993, I sent the Cosmic Dancer sculpture to the Russian Mir space station to investigate the properties of sculpture in weightlessness and to evaluate the integration of art into the human space program. The Cosmic Dancer - a painted geometric form made out of welded aluminum tubing measuring approximately 35 x 35 x 40 centimeters and weighing exactly one kilogram - was the first three-dimensional artwork to be specifically conceived for and officially realized in a space habitat.

Inflatable Technologies for Sculpture in Earth Orbit


Art to the Stars - an Astronautical Perspective on the Arts and Space
I was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, USA in 1948.  I studied psychology, art and literature at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. After graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970 and completing U.S. military service in 1972, I began my art career in California in 1972 before moving to Switzerland in 1974 where I currently live and work. I have dual Swiss and American citizenship and speak English and German. I am married and have two children.

My involvement with space activities began over fifty-five years ago when I had the fortunate experience to personally witness the beginnings of the U.S. space program while living in the immediate vicinity of Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center (1959 -1970). There I held summer jobs at the space center in 1967 & 1968 during the Apollo program.

Beginning in the mid-1980’s I initiated a number of art-in-space projects:

  • The O.U.R.S. – Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite (1985)

  • The OUR-Space Peace Sculpture (OUR-SPS) (1988)

  • The Cosmic Dancer sculpture (1992-1993)

  • Ars Ad Astra – the 1st Art Exhibition in Earth Orbit (1994-1995)

  • The SEEDS project (1995)  (EarthSeeds 2013)

  • The Cosmic Stones (2004)

  • S.O.S. – Space Option Star (2013)

  • EarthSeeds (2013)

  • S.P.S. – Space Peace Star (2015)

  • GEO-Political Observatory (2016)

A full-size (6m dia.) OUR- Space Peace Sculpture was built by NPO Energia in the U.S.S.R. in 1990


Arthur Woods Artist:

The Cosmic Dancer project (1993):


Ars Ad Astra: The 1st Art Exhibition in Earth Orbit.
Website:  (1995)  were realized on the Mir space station.

Other Activities
In 1990 I founded the OURS Foundation(1990-2003), a cultural and astronautical organization dedicated to introducing, nurturing and expanding a cultural dimension to humanity's astronautical endeavors. In addition to being a vehicle for the development of space art projects, the OURS Foundation organized the 1st European Space Art Workshop held in Montreux, Switzerland in 1992 and was co-organizer, along with Leonardo/OLATS and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) of the 9 space art workshops (1997-2005) held first in Paris and then later in other venues. The OURS Foundation also organized or co-organized international exhibitions of space art held at the International Astronautical Congresses (IAC) in Oslo, 1995, Turin, 1997 and Melbourne in 1998. In addition, the various projects been exhibited in numerous art venues including the Art Basel art fair in 1987, 1988 and 1989; and in space venues such as Space Commerce 1988, 1990 and 1992.

Solo Shows  
1974 Galerie du Marché, Lausanne, CH
1975 Galerie Fantastique, Lausanne, CH
1977 Galerie Ursula Wiedenkeller, Zürich, CH
1979 Galerie Iselin, Schöner Wohnen Haus, Zürich, CH
1980 Shade Gallery, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA
1981 Peter Noser Galerie, Zürich, CH
1981 American Gallery, Bern, CH
1983 Peter Noser Galerie, Zürich, CH
1983 Galerie Alte Mühle, Embrach, CH
1984 CERN, Geneva, CH
1985 Andome, Kloten, CH
1986 galerie am neumarkt, Zürich, CH
1986 Space Commerce 86, Montreux, CH
1986 Galerie Adler, Rorbas, CH
1987 ART 17 Basel, International Art Fair, Basel, CH: OURS Project
1988 ART 18 Basel, International Art Fair Basel, CH: OURS Project
1989 ART 19 Basel, International Art Fair Basel, CH: OURS Project
1989 Galerie Adler, Rorbas, CH
1989  Galerie de la Grenette,  Sion, CH
1990 Space Commerce 90 , Montreux, CH: OURS Project
1990 Habegger Art, Zürich, CH
1990 Milano Art Center, Milano, IT
1990 Galerie Rudolf Mangish, Zürich, CH
1991 Kunstgalerie Thurnheer, Bülach, CH
1992 Pisoni-Keller, Kriegstetten, CH
1992 Galerie Elfi Bohrer, Bonstetten, CH
1992  Kunstgalerie Thurnheer, Bülach, CH
1993 Galerie Baumberger, Zürich, CH
1993, 95, 97 Galerie Elfi Bohrer, Bonstetten, CH
2000 Galerie Elfi Bohrer, Bonstetten, CH (with G. Spector & S. Zandolini)
2005-2013 Museumsnacht Hegnau-Schaffhausen, arthurwoods Galerie, Stein am Rhein, CH
2010, 2011, 2012 Kunst an der MUBA, Basel, CH
2011 MAG - Montreux Art Gallery, Montreux, CH
2012 Kinetica - the Kinetic Art Fair, London
2013 MUBA 2013 (with Galerie Maebe) Basel, CH
2004-2014 Arthur Woods Galerie, Stein am Rhein, CH
Arthur Woods Publications

  • 1987 Arthur R. Woods, The Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite Project - The Spirit of Enterprise - The 1987 Rolex Awards. Van Nostrand-Reinhold, Berkshire, England. pp. 184-186.

  • 1989 Arthur R. Woods & Marco C. Bernasconi, The OUR-Space Peace Sculpture: Introducing a Cultural Dimension Into the Space Environment. - Paper IAA-89-673 presented to the 40th IAF Congress, Torremolinos, Spain. October 7-13.

  • 1989 Arthur R. Woods, OURS- The Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite Project: A Synthesis of Art, Technology and the Human Spirit - Paper 0329 submitted to "A Delicate Balance: Technics, Culture and Consequences" 1989 IEEE Conference, Los Angeles, CA. Published in the conference proceedings 1991.

  • 1989 Arthur R. Woods, OURS - The Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite Project - Paper SDC 89-072 presented at the 8th International Space Development Conference, Chicago, Illinois, May 26-29. Published in the proceedings pp. 551-554.

  • 1990 Arthur R. Woods & Marco C. Bernasconi, The Orbiting Unification Ring-Space Peace Sculptures: Progress Report on Global Art In Space, - Paper IAA-90-652 presented to the 41st IAF Congress, Dresden, Germany. October 6-12. Published in LEONARDO 24, [5] pp. 601-606


  • 1990 Arthur R. Woods, The Orbiting Unification Ring - Space Peace Sculptures - The Spirit of Enterprise The Book 1990 Rolex Awards, Buri International, Bern, CH. pp. 332-334.

  • 1992 Arthur R. Woods, OURS- The Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite: A Global Artwork In Space for the Year 2000: Communicating the Urgency of Outer Space Development, - Paper ESW 92-26 presented to the 1st European Space Art Symposium, Montreux, Switzerland. March 21-27.

  • 1993 Arthur R. Woods, The Cosmic Dancer: Sculpture and the Absence of Gravity - March 21-27, Published in LEONARDO 26, No 4. pp. 297-301.

  • 1993 Arthur R. Woods & Marco C. Bernasconi, Spaceflight of the Cosmic Dancer Sculpture - Paper IAA.8.2-93-773 presented at the 44th Int. Astronautical Congress, Graz, Austria, October 16-22.

  • 1993 Marco C. Bernasconi & Arthur R. Woods, Implementing the Space Option: Elaboration and Dissemination of a New Rationale For Space. (Parts 1 & 2) - Paper IAA.8.1-93-764 a & b presented at the 44th International Astronautical Congress, Graz, Austria. October 16-22.

  • 1994 Arthur R. Woods, Art In Space: The Spaceflight of the Cosmic Dancer Sculpture - Article published in Earth Space Review. Vol. 3. No. 2. April-June. Also cover of same issue.

  • 1994 Arthur R. Woods & Marco C. Bernasconi, Ars ad Astra: The 1st Art Exhibition in Earth Orbit. Paper IAF-94-P. 3.320 presented at the 45th IAF Congress, Jerusalem, Israel. October 9-14.

  • 1994 Arthur R. Woods, The Role of Art in Communicating the Importance of Space Activities. Paper IAA-94-IAA.8.2.712 presented at the 45th IAF Congress, Jerusalem, Israel. October 9-14.

  • 1995 Arthur R. Woods, Ars ad Astra: A Cultural Experiment on EUROMIR 95, Paper IAA-95-IAA.8.2.04 presented at the 46th International Astronautical Congress, Oslo, Norway, October 2-6. >

  • 1995 Arthur R. Woods & Marco C. Bernasconi, Choosing A Space Age Or A Stone Age, Commentary published in Space News Oct. 2-8, 1995.

  • 1997 Arthur R. Woods, SEEDS - Synergizing Earth's Evolutionary Development Spacewards, Paper IAA-97-IAA.8.2.04 presented at the 48th International Astronautical Congress, Turin, Italy Oct. 6 - 10, 1997.

  • 1998 Arthur R. Woods, Discovering Greater Earth, Paper presented at the 1998 Forum Engelberg "Transportation and Mobility in the Next Century", March 24 - 26, 1998, Engelberg, Switzerland

  • 1998 Arthur R. Woods, From Cyberspace to Outerspace -, Paper IAA-98-IAA.8.2.01 presented at the 49th International Astronautical Congress, Melbourne, Australia Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 1998.

  • 2001 Arthur R. Woods, The Exploration of Space by Artists and Writers, Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications, ESA Brochure BR-176, pp.9, June 2001

  • 2001 Arthur R. Woods, Die Erforschung des Weltraums durch Künstler und Schriftsteller, All Design - Leben im Schwerlosen Raum, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Schwabe Verlag, pp.151-161, November, 2001

  • 2002 Arthur R. Woods, Die Erforschung des Weltraums durch Künstler und Schriftsteller, Innovative Technologien aus der Science-Fiction für Weltraumtechnische Anwendungen, ESA Brochure BR-176/G, pp.9, September 2002

  • 2005 Arthur R. Woods, From O.U.R.S. to S.E.E.D.S: A 20-Year Exploration of the Cultural Dimensions of Outer Space, 1st International Academy of Astronautics Symposium on the Impact of Space and Society, Budapest, Hungary. 17-19 March, 2005

  • 2006 Arthur r. Woods, Cosmic Stones - A Space Art Project by Arthur Woods, Paper based on the presentation given at the 1st International Convention of Technologies of Frontier, Moncrivello, Italy, April 1, 2006

  • 2007 Arthur R. Woods, Space Options for the 21st Century  Overview and Perspective, 2nd International Academy of Astronautics Symposium on the Impact of Space and Society, ESTEC, Noordwijk, NL, 27 February – 1 March, 2007

  • 2009 Marco C. Bernasconi & Arthur R. Woods, , Lights in the Sky: Membrane Structures for Art in Space, International Conference on Textile Composites and Inflatable Structures, STRUCTURAL MEMBARNES 2009, E. Oñate, and B. Kröplin, (Eds)
    © CIMNE, Barcelona, 2009

Group Exhibitions

Group Shows  
1975 Selected projects for "la Blecherette" Musee des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, CH
1976, 1978 Kunstszene 76 and 78, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, CH
1979 Galerie RB, Fribourg, CH
1979 American Embassy, Bern, CH
1980 Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA, USA
1980 Springfield Museum, Springfeld, MA, USA
1981 Galerie Walcheturm, Zürich, CH
1981 Peter Noser Galerie, Zürich, CH
1985 Galerie Adler, Rorbas, CH
1987, 88, 89 ART Basel, International Art Fair, Basel, CH: OURS Project
1990 "Vision of Space" 1st Int. Space Art Exhibition in Switzerland, Montreux, CH
1990 «LOGOS » Mostra Internazionale D'arte Contemporanea, Varallo, IT
1992 "7 American Artists in Zürich” Galerie Arthur Woods, Embrach, CH
1992 "Art In Space-Space In Art”, Space Commerce 92, Montreux, CH
1992 "Kunst und Weltraum", Galerie Arthur Woods, Embrach, CH
1992 Maison D'Ailleurs - Musée de la science fiction, Yverdon-les-Bains, CH
1993 Embri-Kunstkeller, Embrach, CH
1994 "UFO und IFO",  Galerie A16, Zürich, CH
2001-2002 "All Design - Leben im schwerelosen Raum", Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich, CH (Catalog)
2003 ‘Festival @rt Outsiders’, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, FR (Catalog)
2003 «Utopiales 2003» Festival International de Science Fiction - Nantes, FR
2004 ‘ELECTRE et MAGNETE 2004 : ART SPATIALE, GRAVITATION ET MAGNÉTISME’, OBORO Contemporary Arts Centre, Montreal, CN
2004 «Abstract », Lost & Found, Amsterdam, NL
2006 "Zero Gravity”, Sange de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, Colorado, USA
2006-2007 Abenteuer Raumfahrt. Aufbruch ins Weltall, Große Sonderausstellung des Landes Baden-Württemberg im Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim, DE
2007 Représentations de l’Espace, CNES-Centre National d’Études Spatiales, Paris, Fr
2011 Les Compagnons de l’Espace, CNES-Centre National d’Études Spatiales, Paris, Fr
2012-2013 Falling Without Fear, The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM, USA
2013 Free Enterprise: The Art of Citizen Space Exploration, California Museum of Photography, UCR-University of California Riverside, CA, USA
2013 Revolutions The Inexorable Evolution of Art, The Canadian Space Society, Calgary, Canada
2017 The Universe and Art - An Artistic Voyage through Space,  ArtScience Museum, Singapore
2017 Personal Structures - Open Borders,  Palazzo Bembo, 2017 Venice Art Biennale
2018 Your Trip to Space,  with Swiss Space Museum at Fantasy Basel, CH
2019 Fly Me to the Moon. The Moon Landing: 50 years on., Kunstmuseum Zürich, CH
Cosmic Dancer on the Mir Space Station, 1993

Resident Artist
Arthur Woods - Resident Artist on the Greater.Earth space station
Arthur Woods, Video, Performance
Cosmic Dancer on Mir Space Station
Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station with cosmonaut Alexander Polischuk
Arthur Woods, Metall, Installation
Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station
Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station with cosmonaut Gennadi Manakov
Arthur Woods, Metall
Cosmic Dancer in Spacesuit Compartment
Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station in the spacesuit compartment.
Arthur Woods, Metall
EarthSeeds Installation Venice 2017
EarthSeeds installation in Palazzo Bembo during 2017 Venice Art Biennale
Arthur Woods, Kunststoff, Sonstige
OUR-Space Peace Sculpture
OUR-Space Peace Sculpture - an inflatable sculpture for orbit to celebrate International Space Year 1992. Constructed in Russia by NPO Energia in 1990.
Arthur Woods, Kunststoff, Mixed Media
Proposed Space Peace Star
Proposed Space Peace Star - an orbital sculpture utilizing an inflatable rigidiizable membrane
Arthur Woods, Kunststoff, Installation
Proposed Space Option Star
Proposed Space Option Star - an orbital sculpture utilizing an inflatable rigidiizable membrane
Arthur Woods, Kunststoff, Installation
Cosmic Dancer 2.0
Cosmic Dancer 2.0 - 25th anniversary of Cosmic Dancer. 3-D printed sculpture for a space station near Earth.
Arthur Woods, Kunststoff, Installation

Arthur Woods

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