New Star Trek Exhibit Shows Franchise Through 50 Artists' Eyes

John Russell

Star Trek has always been about inspiration, flights of fancy and making historic and artistic connections. What would happen if some renowned artists—each a superfan of the series—were asked to create art inspired by the show with the simple instruction just to boldly go for it?

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That was the extraordinary thinking behind “Star Trek: 50 Artists. 50 Years,” which debuted in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Curator Jorge Ferreiro, creative director at CBS Consumer Products, collected works from 50 artists all over the world (narrowed down from 300 in a selection process that began in 2014) that celebrate the spirit of multiculturalism best represented by Gene Roddenberry’s long-realized dream.

Star Trek…really does spark the imagination and it inspires creativity,” says CBS Consumer Products vice president and general manager Liz Kalodner. “It occurred to us that the fans would like to see world-class artists interpret Star Trek in their own way.”

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Among the highlights of the exhibition: digital illustrations by Tom Whalen (who drew heavily on his connection to the original series for his graphic “spec sheet” of the U.S.S. Enterprise), pieces by Kansas-based sculptor Lynn A. Norton and South Korean textile artist Hyunju Kim and, perhaps most poignantly, a haunting depiction of the Vulcan salute in a multicolored grid created by the late Leonard Nimoy.

“You’ll look at all this stuff and you’ll feel like these are all people who really know the franchise very well,” Ferreiro says. Whalen agrees: “There’s an optimism and a sense of wonder that I tried to put into my piece that might reflect that era.”

The exhibition will be on display at the Paley Center for Media in New York City from September 16–25. More information can be found at StarTrek50Art.com.