Checking out Star Trek – The Art of Juan Ortiz’s opening reception

Juan Ortiz signing copies of his artbook.

Juan Ortiz signing copies of his artbook.

On November 18, 2013, Nerd Reactor was invited to the opening reception of Juan Ortiz‘s gallery. Located at the Paley Center for Media in collaboration with CBS Consumer Products, all 80 designs dedicated to the original Star Trek series is showcased here. Various fans of the show coming from all walks of lives and industry professionals came to meet Juan and get an in-person look at the first prints up in the mass collection.
STJO_KevPerry3Not long ago, I reviewed Juan’s artbook, which you can still purchase online. So naturally, I was a prime candidate to attending this event. Upon arrival, I immediately saw Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura in the original series.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Perry.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Perry.

Throughout the reception, there were many people familiar with each other, all aware or knowledgeable of the subject to which they’ve come to attend:

  • Michael and Denise Okuda – They are responsible for the look and design of the shows from TNG onwards, the LCARS design, and wrote the Trek Encyclopedia among other books. They are currently working on the remastering of TNG for Blu-ray.
  • Larry Nemecek – A big author in the Trek realm, notably the TNG Companion and the upcoming Stellar Cartography book.
  • Scott Mantz – Movie critic for Access Hollywood. He’s a massive Trekkie who can rattle off the air dates of most of the TOS episode, which is very impressive (even our very own Holly can’t do that).
Michael and Denise Okuda. Photo courtesy of Kevin Perry.

Michael and Denise Okuda. Photo courtesy of Kevin Perry.

Compared to having these art pieces in a hardcover book, it is a welcoming sight to see all of them side-by-side. Although many people could find art galleries dull, there is a resounding symbolic intent evoked from these works – ultimately you are engaged! Just standing in front of one, you could literally look at each poster for a good 5 minutes picking out all the clever subtleties that are relevant to the Trek episodes, assuming you’re a big enough fan. Juan Ortiz is a master symbolic translation!


Some favorites include:

  • Spectre of the Gun. The use of Western-style revolvers as the Enterprise nacelles brings joyful tears to my eyes. It’s incredibly clever.
  • Bread and Circuses. The use of the saucer section of the Enterprise as a shield.
  • A Taste of Armageddon. Using the title type as the teeth of a skull.
  • The Omega Glory. REDSHIRT DEATH!!! *evil cackle*

STJO_UhuraIt’s clean and crisp with what you would desire from an art gallery. Their display of Juan’s art is framed in the perfect space in the Paley Center which includes fabulous lighting. They really do the collection a service in the way that it’s displayed. Accompanying each piece is a placard which conveys information about the episode air date, etc.

Although it wasn’t open, they have a really fun gift shop that geeks would DIE for! They really do dabble in almost every facet of geek culture, from comics to cartoons, so even if readers don’t think an art exhibit would be their cup of tea, the other draws of The Paley Center might spark an interest.
STJO_HollyATo those who have not heard of The Paley Center, it is a center that focuses on the relationship and impact of media on society. With locations in New York and Los Angeles, it “leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public“. So you can imagine their embrace of nerd-culture as it’s traveled across the varying entertainment mediums.
STJO_Juan2If you ever decide to come down to the Paley Center, the exhibit runs from Wednesday, November 20, 2013 to Sunday, January 5, 2014.

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