Lowry Burgess

Lowry at the Bhuddas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan


Lowry Burgess is an internationally renowned environmental artist. He created the first official art payload to be taken into outer space by NASA. His artworks are in museums in the US and in Europe.

He is Professor of Art and former Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University where he co-founded the Studio for Creative Inquiry which supports advanced research projects in the arts.


He has been a Fellow and Senior Consultant at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 25 years where he created and directed large collaborative projects in the US and Europe. He is on the International Advisory Committee on Art, Science and Technology at MIT.


He was the concept originator of the international new year's arts festival called "First Night". He originated the arts in the subways programs for the Department of Transportation. He has developed and advised in more than a dozen major city scale projects.


He has been honored with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kellogg Foundation. His book, "Burgess, the Quiet Axis" received the prestigious Imperishable Gold Award from Le Devoir in Montreal.


He has been featured in numerous international television and radio broadcasts in the US, Europe and Japan including: NOVA, "Artists in the Lab"; Smithsonian World, "Elephant on a Hill", "Artists of Earthwatch": "Arts and New Technologies" (Tokyo 12); "Artransition" (German National Television); "The Quiet Axis" (Hungarian State Television), on MSNBC; and more than two hundred national and international radio broadcasts.


In 1974 Professor Burgess went to Bamiyan, Afghanistan on a Guggenheim Grant to do an artwork (a holographic lake of waterlilies and stars) in the dry valley opposite the Buddhas that have now been destroyed.


Notable Exhibitions

  • 2007 - Solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
  • 2008 - “Deep Space Signaling Group” artwork involving the International Space Station and NASA.
  • 2011 - exhibition in Paris to commemorate the 50th anniversary of CNES, the French Space Agency, where Burgess displayed his "Moon Bounce" hologram, which was positioned between an original Leonardo Da Vinci notebook and original watercolors of the moon by Galileo.
  • 2018 - upcoming exhibition of the Centerbeam, a 1977 MIT collaborative artwork.  The Centerbeam will be remade with some original pieces at the Zentrum fur Kunst Medientechnologie in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Burgess is the artistic director of the project.
  • 2018 The Moon Arts Group- Project Director- MoonArk, 2018, Museum on the Moon.


  • Creator of the first official nonscientific payload and artwork flown into outer space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
  • Pioneer of the Space Art movement.
  • Author of the "Toronto Manifesto,The Right to Human Memory", which led to the creation of a new global value/incentive between UNESCO in Paris and Washington, DC. for the protection of cultural sites throughout the world.
  • Author of a new human right for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article is supported by the declaration “The Right to Historic Cultural Memory and Its Attendant Resolution”, the right to protections for historic cultural memory, endorsed globally.
  • Former Dean of the College of Fine Arts and a distinguished fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Fellow, Senior Consultant and Advisor to the Center for Advance Visual Studies @ MIT.
  • Creator and founder of "First Night", the international New Year's Eve celebration.
  • Buckminster Fuller Fellow.


  • The  American Academy of Arts and Letters - The National Institute of Arts and Letters
  • The Guggenheim Foundation
  • The Rockefeller Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • The Kellogg Foundation
  • The Massachusetts Artists Foundation
  • The Berkmann Fund
  • Imperishable Gold Award- LeDevoir in Montreal- book, “Burgess, The Quiet Axis” (written in four languages)
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Space Art Award from the National Space Society


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