Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Motorcycles as Art

"Discovery" by Perewitz
This morning my wonderful mechanic, Cisco, called me about a car issue. I told him that I'd finally gone to his show at the Shelburn Museum. Although I'm not a motorcycle fan, I was pretty impressed at the exhibit:

"Full Throttle: Vintage Motorcycles, Custom Choppers and Racing Machines"
"UTR" by Cisco, Green Mountain Performance, Mendon, VT


Cisco (who owns Green Mountain Performance in Mendon, VT) had two of his custom built bikes in the show and I wanted to see them. I had seen one of his bikes one evening when I was getting my car fixed and we began chatting. He took me over to a corner of the garage and unveiled his latest creation. It was stunningly beautiful! "This is like a piece of sculpture," I said. That, of course, was his opening to tell me about the museum show and the big events he shows at around the country. These bikes sell for tens of thousands, sometimes a hundred thousand dollars. After learning from Cisco all that goes into them, I can appreciate why.

Cisco with "Calgon" at Green Mountain Performance, Mendon, VT
My conversation this morning prompted me to think that you might be interesting in seeing his work -- or at least thinking about sculpture in new ways. Here is the Shelburn Museum blurb on the show:
"Full Throttle focuses on the evolution of motorcycle design and celebrates the artistry of a mode of transportation that inspired a subculture all its own,” said Kory Rogers, associate curator.
Exhibited on all three levels of Shelburne Museum’s historic Round Barn gallery, Full Throttle is organized into three thematic sections.
• “Wide Open and Wild: Racing Machines” examines the role of racing tracks as testing grounds for motorcycle performance and design improvements.
• “Classic Cool: Vintage Motorcycles” features iconic examples of such makes as Indian, Harley Davidson and Triumph and explores how many of the improvements born on the track translated into hallmarks for specific brands.
• “Choppers: Art of the Custom Ride” explores the evolution of building choppers from early models where parts were chopped off to jettison weight to today’s custom rides that elevate bike building to an art form that reflects the personality of the individual rider. This section include examples of regional styles, as well as compares “old school” choppers to contemporary themed or fantasy bikes.
"The Smackdown" by Tommy Graves



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