Fellow Travelers

curated by Katherine Rochester

Installation view.
A musician from Saturn. A Syrian Cosmonaut. A Romanian refugee who experienced the supernatural and spent the rest of his life diagraming the event. These are some of the real-life characters in Fellow Travelers, an exhibition that initiates an encounter between people displaced by the deterioration of neo-liberal policies around the world. At their most optimistic, these policies generated a vision of scientific progress symbolized by the race for space. While both NASA and the Soviet Space Program considered space a terrain ripe for ideological expansion, artists such as musician-prophet Sun Ra re-imagined these paradigms to create utopian solutions for oppressed communities.

Sun Ra developed his free-wheeling philosophy (later associated with Afrofuturism) while traveling from Louisiana to Chicago during the Great Migration in 1947. Now, in another moment of mass migration, artists have once again turned to outer space in order to mitigate earthly catastrophes. Some projects posit travel as a gesture of resistance. Others explore the refusal to leave as a form of protest. Even in the act of imagining space as an outsider?s utopia, most betray bitter cynicism about ever finding a sense of belonging on earth. Which small gestures can destabilize the system? Can space stand-in for a home that might be lost forever? From Afronauts to Cosmonauts, Fellow Travelers affirms that art is a tool for testing limits, crossing boundaries, and providing a platform for voices of dissent.

  • artists:
    Halil Altindere
    Lou Cantor
    Amen Feizabadi
    Azin Feizabadi
    Sun Ra
    Ionel Talpazan
Katherine Rochester is an art historian and curator with a specialization in modern and contemporary art and film. She is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College and holds an M.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a B.A. from Grinnell College. Katherine has worked at the Walker Art Center, The Soap Factory, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. She has participated in the CCL/Mellon Foundation Seminar in Curatorial Practice and her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.