Ad Astra (Lippold sculpture)

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Ad Astra
Needle at Air and Space Mus. at D.C.jpg
ArtistRichard Lippold
Year1976 (1976)
TypeGold-colored polished stainless steel
Dimensions35 m (115 ft)
LocationNational Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°53′18.99″N 77°1′11.45″W / 38.8886083°N 77.0198472°W / 38.8886083; -77.0198472
OwnerSmithsonian Institution

Ad Astra is a public artwork by American artist Richard Lippold. The abstract sculpture is located outside on the Jefferson Drive entrance of and in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.[1][2][3] The sculpture's title is Latin, meaning "To the Stars".[2]


This abstract statue is made of gold-colored polished stainless steel. Standing at 100 feet tall, the piece consists of a "...three-planed narrow shaft ending in a pointed tip, penetrates a triple star-like cluster near its apex".[4][5]


Lippold believed that "the characteristic art of our time deals with the conquest of space", with Ad Astra symbolizing just that.[6][7] In 2009 the sculpture made an appearance in the film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ad Astra sculpture". 2009-04-19. Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  2. ^ a b ""Ad Astra" by Richard Lippold". Retrieved 2010-07-29.
  3. ^ "Outdoor Sculptures: Air and Space Museum". Smithsonian Institution. 6 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  4. ^ National Air & Space Museum (1976). "Ad Astra (sculpture)". Inventory of American Painting and Sculpture. Smithsonian. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Lippard, Richard", The Oxford dictionary of American art and artists, Ann Lee Morgan
  6. ^ Neufeld, Michael; Alex Spencer; John Dailey; John Glenn (October 2010). Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography. National Geographic. ISBN 1-4262-0653-4.
  7. ^ "Ad Astra". No. 20 June 1976. Star-Gazette. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Richard Lippold". IMDb. Retrieved 22 April 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Fabricating a soaring symbol of the space age {Richard Lippold's Ad astra}." AIA Journal 65, (October 1976): Art Index Retrospective: 1929–1984 (H. W. Wilson Company)

External links[edit]