Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11, Andy Warhol, Brooke Shields, and Chris Makos

by Chris Murray on March 25, 2019

I just saw the amazing film, Apollo 11. It is as The New York Times film critic Glenn Kenny called it, “awe-inspiring.” Govinda Gallery presented Andy Warhol‘s last prints, The Moonwalk, in 1988, which featured Apollo 11 pilot Buzz Aldrin holding the American flag on the moon. It is 50 years since Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were the first men on the moon. Buzz visited Govinda Gallery to see The Moonwalk prints by Warhol, and we became friends. Buzz also came to the launch of my book, Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll (Taschen 2015), in Los Angeles, featuring Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs. Here is a tribute to Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 mission, and Andy Warhol. Just last Friday, art critic Holland Cotter wrote of Warhol, referring to his Death and Disaster series as, “one of the greatest achievements of 20th century art.”

                           Cover of the Program for the Challenger Center Benefit Concert,                                                               inscribed to Chris Murray by Buzz Aldrin. From Govinda Gallery Archive.

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I first met Buzz Aldrin with photographer Chris Makos in Houston at a concert/fundraiser for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education being established to honor the space shuttle Challenger, which “exploded before the eyes of our nation” on January 28th, 1986. Carolyn Farb, another great friend of Govinda Gallery, organized the fundraiser. Govinda Gallery assisted Carolyn in arranging for the use of Warhol’s Moonwalk image for the Gala Benefit Concert.

Inside of the program for Challenger Center Benefit Concert, March 31st, 1988. Photo from Govinda Gallery Archive.

Left to right: Chris Murray, Christopher Makos, Buzz Aldrin and Lois Aldrin at benefit concert.

Gala Chairman Mrs. Carolyn Farb supported by The Fabulous Thunderbirds at the Wortham Center Brown Theater, Houston, Texas. Copyright © Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

Chris Murray with benefit concert host Brooke Shields. Copyright © Chris Makos. All Rights Reserved.

Note from Chris Makos to Chris Murray.

Govinda featured Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk print at our exhibition The Last Prints: Silkscreens, February 11th through March 12th, 1988. We have reproduced here the invitation to that exhibit and some other interesting material from the Govinda Archives, including a short story below from The Washington Post on Aldrin’s visit to Govinda Gallery and Warhol’s Moonwalk set.


Monday, August 1, 1988
Arts Beat

Warhol & The Man on The Moon

By Kara Swisher
Special to the Washington Post

“When you’re the second man on the moon, you might not expect to be as remembered as the first, but former astronaut Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., part of the crew on the 1969 Apollo XI flight, has been memorialized by a star.

Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong down the ladder on the first lunar landing, was in town last week to receive a gift copy of the print “Moonwalk,” by artist Andy Warhol, from Govinda Gallery. The work, one of the last prints made by Warhol before his death last year and the first of a planned Warhol series on great moments in television, depicts Aldrin standing on the moon with an American flag. There are 160 “Moonwalk” prints, in magenta and yellow, costing $10,500 each.

Govinda owner Chris Murray met Aldrin in Houston at a benefit for the planned Challenger education center. “I knew who he was, and asked him to fill me in [on the ‘Moonwalk’ scene],” says Murray. “Well, I was surprised when we said, ‘Well, first of all, that’s me.’
So Murray arranged to get a print for Aldrin. Upon receiving the piece, Aldrin thanked him and said, “I’m sure Andy is looking down on us right now.”

The Govinda Gallery invitation to Andy Warhol’s exhibition The Last Prints: Silkscreens.

Govinda Gallery owner and director Chris Murray presenting Buzz Aldrin with Warhol’s silkscreen print Moonwalk, depicting Aldrin on the moon. Copyright © Chester Simpson. All Rights Reserved.

Buzz Aldrin, Govinda Gallery director Chris Murray and son David Murray. Copyright © Chester Simpson. All Rights Reserved.

Buzz Aldrin’s inscription to Chris on his book Encounter with Tiber, 1996.

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