Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) opens the world exclusive exhibition ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ tomorrow, featuring 100 exceptional motorcycles from the 1870s to the present.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said ‘The Motorcycle’, showing until 26 April 2021, celebrated 150 years of motorcycle history and included multiple interactive experiences for all ages.

‘Curated by US-based design curator and physicist Professor Charles M Falco and writer and filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle in collaboration with QAGOMA, the exhibition features pioneering motorcycles and classic commuters, off-road bikes and speed machines, as well as custom creations and numerous electric bikes heralding the future,’ Mr Saines said.

‘The exhibition has a green screen motorcycle riding experience, a motorcycle design studio for building and customising virtual bikes, and a mobile companion site which enables audiences to navigate the show and dive deeper into the history and stories behind each bike on display.

‘This is a must-see experience for bike and motor sport enthusiasts, and it’s equally accessible for anyone with a love of popular culture, design, technology and social history,’ Mr Saines said.

‘The Motorcycle’ will be accompanied by virtual talks and tours, storytelling events, trivia nights, and ‘Motorcycles on the Green’ on 27 February and 18 April 2021, featuring over 60 motorcycles from local community groups, live custom bike builds, DJs and more.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ was the first major exhibition to motor into QAGOMA since COVID-19.

‘As of last week, Queensland is the first state in Australia to open our cultural venues to significantly more visitors,’ Minister Enoch said.

‘This is a testament to the achievement of all Queenslanders who have listened to and followed the health advice.

‘The exhibition will be a drawcard for local visitors as well as those who are taking the opportunity to explore our state, that is now open for business,’ she said.

‘The Palaszczuk Government investment of nearly $60 million, including the $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package, is vital in sustaining the sector, supporting new work, re-opening our cultural venues, delivering digital programming and supporting COVID-safe audience experiences across the State.’

‘The Palaszczuk Government’s blockbuster funding for QAGOMA provides funding of $4 million over two years (2019–2020 and 2020–2021) to support exclusive exhibitions like this in Queensland, revving up our reputation as a must-see visual arts destination.’

On 19 and 20 March 2021, Up Late returns to GOMA for an after-hours celebration of ‘The Motorcycle’ and live music performances across two jam-packed nights.

Co-curator of the exhibition Professor Charles M Falco said ‘The Motorcycle’, presented across GOMA’s entire ground floor, would feature bikes ranging from the steam-powered 1871 Perreaux Vélocipède, the world’s first motorcycle designed by Louis-Guillame Perreaux, to the electric-powered 2020 Savic C-Series Alpha, from Australian automotive designer Dennis Savic.

‘The show encompasses the span of motorcycle history, design and capability, from steam power, through internal combustion engines, and into the future with electric motors. Among the highlights are impressive speed machines, such as a Burt Munro 1920 Indian Streamliner, a record setting 1951 Vincent Black Lightning, an original 1974 Ducati 750SS and a rare 1994 Britten V1000, created by legendary New Zealand design engineer, John Britten. Sleek contemporary custom creations include Max Hazan’s 2016 ‘Black Knight’, Daryl Villenueva’s 2016 ‘Bandit 9 Eve Mk II’, Craig Rodsmith’s 2018 ‘Corps Léger’ and Bryan Fuller’s 2019 Moto ‘2029’,’ Professor Falco said.

Co-curator Ultan Guilfoyle said moving image was integral to the exhibition with many high definition video screens playing important examples of the motorcycle on film from the earliest days to the present.

‘The exhibition explores in depth the abstract world of avant-garde custom designs and includes the work of Australia’s leading motorcycle custom designer, Deus Ex Machina. It also highlights the important role gender has played in motorcycle history, with the inclusion of the Vespa and the Honda Cub, two bikes designed specifically with working women in mind, through to great objects of desire such as the Ducati Monster which was designed not only to look cool, but to be ridden easily by either men or women,’ Mr Guilfoyle said.

Motorcycles on Screen’ is the major film program of more than 50 titles showing at GOMA for the duration of the exhibition. The free program features films from the silent era through to the present including classics Roman Holiday 1953, The Wild One 1953, The Great Escape 1963, Easy Rider 1969, Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 and iconic Australian films Stone 1974, Mad Max 1979, Shame 1988 and Finke: There and Back 2018. Excerpts of many of these films along with rare archival footage and contemporary video artworks centred on the motorcycle will also punctuate each space in the exhibition.

Alongside ‘The Motorcycle’, some of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists respond to the motorcycle helmet in ‘Full Face: Artists’ Helmets’. Artists who have customised helmets in their own distinct styles for the showcase include Archie Moore, Brian Robinson, Callum McGrath, David Booth (ghostpatrol), Eric Bridgeman and Alison Wei, eX de Medici, Guan Wei, Kate Beynon, Madeleine Kelly, Monika Behrens, Nell, Reko Rennie, Robert Moore, Shaun Gladwell and TextaQueen.

‘The Motorcycle’ is accompanied by a themed exhibition store retailing an exclusive range of Deus Ex Machina x QAGOMA t-shirts, totes, caps and badges and a major hardcover book co-published by Phaidon Press celebrating the history and future of the motorcycle. The image-rich 320-page publication can be purchased at the GOMA Store or online at www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/store.

Audiences can join two virtual discussions for ‘The Motorcycle’.

From 11.00am-12noon Australian designers and innovators Dare Jennings (founder, Deus Ex Machina & Mambo), Leo Yip (Co-founder and Director, Ellaspede) and Michelle Nazzari (founder and managing director, Fonzarelli Electric Moto) will discuss the evolution of the fine art of motorcycle design. Book here

From 2.30-3.30pm artists Monika Behrens, Shaun Gladwell and Reko Rennie will discuss their contributions to the ‘Full Face: Artists’ Helmets’ project and the interplay between art, design and motorcycle culture. Book here

These virtual talks are free and bookings are required.

For more information on the extensive public programs accompanying ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ or to secure your tickets to the exhibition please visit www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/themotorcycle.

‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

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