Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Art of the Motorcycle

I had the good fortune today to attend the Memphis, TN version of The Art of the Motorcycle, a groundbreaking art exhibit first featured by the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Although the exhibit was, sadly, not the same put on by the Guggenheim, it was a dream come true to tour the historic event in the belly of the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, TN.

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past 7 years (I'm speaking to motorcyclists here), you know all about The Art of the Motorcycle. If you have been living in a cave, here's a blurb on the Memphis incarnation from the Daily Mississippian.
MEMPHIS - In the history of motorcycles, some images are enduring: Marlon Brando astride his 1950 Triumph Thunderbird in "The Wild One," or Peter Fonda gripping the ape hangers of his stars-and-stripes Harley chopper in "Easy Rider."

But who remembers Lucius Copeland and his revolutionary Star steamer?

In 1884, Copeland strapped a steam engine to a Star bicycle – the kind with the large main wheel and a much smaller support wheel – and roared off at speeds up to 12 miles per hour.

"It wasn't very practical, though. You had to keep a fire going," said Steve Masler, a curator who organized "The Art of the Motorcycle," an exhibit at the Memphis Pyramid through Oct. 30.

The show, modeled on a 1998 exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, considers the motorcycle as a work of art and an icon of style.
While our Memphis show is different than the show at the Guggenheim, I am proud to say that our 92 bikes fair very well against New York's 114 bikes, and many of the bikes at our show were the same as those up north (and in Bilbao, I might add).

It was a dream come true to see the Captain America replica, the MV Agusta F4, the Britten V-1000, and the Aprillia Moto 6.5. There's absolutely no substitute for seeing these bikes in three dimensions. There's nothing like leaning in close to catch a detail and smelling oil, seeing a touch of grime, and knowing that you're inches away from history.

I'll be going back soon. I can't wait to see all of those bikes again. I hope that if you've got the time and the cash, you'll come visit the exhibit in Memphis. It's well worth the ride, well worth your time, and it's an experience that you won't soon forget, biker or not.

Comments:
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