“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years” Lands at New York’s Paley Center

September 16- “Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years”,  which made its debut at this year’s San Diego Comic Con opens up to New York fans today at the Paley Center for Media in midtown. The exhibition, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek television series, features fifty pieces from ten nations as well as tie-in fan screenings and whimsical photo ops sure to please the Trekkies of Manhattan. Noteworthy amongst the art on display is a piece of the famous Vulcan salute by none other than the late Leonard Nimoy himself.

Work by Leonard Nimoy

To my eyes, Spock looks to be favored character by the show’s artists, including a digital illustration from Stanley Chow whom I spoke with at the exhibition preview:

Where are you from?
Stanley Chow: I’m from Manchester England.

What Inspired you to choose Spock?

SC: I think like when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s and then watching reruns of Star Trek, the first person I kind of looked up to was Spock. He seemed like the more intelligent one and slightly different. I guess with me it was–when I was growing up, I was the only Chinese boy in the village, you always kind of–I felt you needed someone different to look up to and aspire to, you know? And Spock was always the one, with his cool, calm, collected demeanor. And his pointy ears.

Artist Stanley Chow with his work

Do you have a favorite Spock moment?
SC: There’s not been a favorite moment, but I’ve always liked the kind of relationship he had with Uhura. You know? It was never kind of like a fully fledged relationship. It was always kind of like an underlying thing…Which was sort of my life with lots of girls when I was growing up.

Do you enjoy Zachary Quinto’s take on the character?
SC: Oh, I think he’s amazing! When he was picked, obviously he was off of “Heroes”…And then once he puts the ears on and he does his thing [in the] movies, he’s the only actor–it’s sounds kind of cliché to say he’s the only actor who could do Spock but he’s done it so well but that’s why it’s become a cliché isn’t it?

Head of CBS consumer products, Liz Kalodner was also on hand to celebrate the opening.

Do you have a Star Trek favorite character?
Liz Kalodner: Well Captain Kirk is the classic, c’mon! Although I have to say, Captain Janeway [From Star Trek: Voyager], also pretty good.

Do you enjoy the new film franchise?
LK: Oh, absolutely. i think JJ Abrams has done a wonderful job. It’s brought in a new, younger audience, and really has given the franchise great energy.
As you’re from consumer products, I noticed you’ve got a fictional cereal here in the exhibit, is that a favorite item?

LK: Yeah! So that’s by an artist named Juan Ortiz who loved Star Trek from when he was a kid and actually had that idea when he was a child. And he always wanted to do it. And I don’t know if you saw the back but there are cutouts, trading cards, because cereal boxes always had you know, the free in-pack or on-pack, so he created that.

Since Star Trek is coming back to TV are you getting ready with your department for that?
LK: We are getting ready! We’re working with showrunner but it’s all in the development stage. But it’s a wonderful time to be in the Star Trek business.

“Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years'” brief stop in NYC concludes on September 25th. Details on the Paley Center’s screenings to coincide with the exhibit can be found here.

The Paley Center for Media is located at 25 West 52nd Street.

New York Film Festival Review “Exhibition”

Starring: Viv Albertine, Liam Gillick, Tom Hiddleston, Mary Roscoe
Directed By: Joanna Hogg
New York FIlm Festival
Running Time: 110 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Set in London, “Exhibition” focuses on a middle-aged married couple, known only in the film as D (Albertine) and H (Gillick). Both artists living a spectacular modernist house, itself built by an artist, we join them at the critical moment of their decision to sell the place. D is hesitant to make the move from a home that has defined their lives for nearly two decades.

It’s surprising to learn that the two leads of the film were themselves not actors. Albertine, the guitarist for band The Slits and Gillick, who is actually a conceptual artist himself, have an amazing chemistry as a long married couple. Though much of the film finds them in a state of disconnect–they communicate with each other through a very clinical intercom system in the house–we get these small moments of levity that make their relationship feel very lived in despite their tensions. You feel a sort of united front the couple present when they are engaging with painfully chatty outsiders like their neighbor going on and on about her children or the constantly upbeat realtor attempting to reassure D they’ll find good buyers (Hogg’s former film alums Mary Roscoe and Tom Hiddleston, respectively). Albertine has most of the screentime and she goes a long way in selling her attachment to both her home and her husband through her heartfelt pleas for H not to go wandering the city at night and later her running outside to confirm the ambulance down the block has nothing to do with H. Her anxiety about a prior ‘incident’ she doesn’t wish to repeat is never fully explained in the film but the desperation you sense when D alludes to it is enough to explain her unease.

I was fortunate to see this film, Hogg’s third feature, as part of a series showcasing all her work at this week’s New York Film Festival. Her first two features, Unrelated and Archipelago, established Hogg’s tremendous control over and emphasis on setting. Though Unrelated and Archipelago took place on family holidays and Exhibition is confined to the house, the sense of place feels like an additional character in her stories. Aesthetically beautiful as they are, they can also turn alienating at a moment’s notice. “Exhibition” takes this a step further through Jovan Ajder’s amazing sound design that morphs the home from a shelter from the sirens outside, to an oversize cavern with all it’s metallic creaking and huge sliding doors that dwarf D when she is on her own. Though D professes to a friend over Skype to be able to feel the love of the previous owners of the house in the walls, the audience may need some convincing. Hogg’s sound design coupled with her meticulous visuals bring us into the growing anxiety that D feels.

“Exhibition” is screening as part of the 51st New York Film Festival taking place through October 12th in Lincoln Center. For more information on it’s remaining screening, visit FilmLinc.com