‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, our world-exclusive exhibition, only in Brisbane, is on view across the Gallery of Modern Art’s (GOMA) entire ground floor until 26 April 2021.
‘The Motorcycle’ will feature the most iconic, innovative and influential motorcycles created over the last 150 years. From The Great Escape, and Easy Rider to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2, motorcycles have been a mainstay of popular culture for decades and continue to provide endless fascination for millions of people around the world.
The Great Escape 1953
Get tickets to ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition
The exhibition taps into the appeal of this iconic object of design and art through an immersive installation experience, featuring more than 100 motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day, and drawn from private and public collections across the globe. It includes the earliest 19th century steam-powered motorcycle, right through to electric motorcycles and exciting design propositions for the future.
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Perreaux Steam Velocipede 1871
Over its 150-year history, the motorcycle has undergone extraordinary reinvention, from steam power to petrol fuelled internal combustion engines to battery, and from humble backyard creations to custom-made, high-tech chrome speed machines.
More than just a means of transport, the motorcycle is a design object, with forms and styles that reflect innumerable cultural and societal influences. This is a comprehensive survey of a universal machine designed to inspire freedom and escape through affordable mobility.
Vincent Black Lightning 1951
At this turning point in the way the world thinks about powered transport, ‘The Motorcycle’ will be a timely celebration of exquisite design and a look at what the future holds.
The exhibition includes interactive experiences — a green screen motorcycle riding experience, a motorcycle design studio for building and customising virtual bikes, and an in-space mobile companion site which enables audiences to navigate the show and dive deeper into the history and stories behind each bike on display — and will appeal not only to bike and motor sport enthusiasts but to anyone curious about social history, popular culture, design and technology.
- An 1871 Perreaux, the first steam-powered velocipede and oldest known motorcycle in the world
- The earliest Australian designed and built machines including a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906;
- A 1951 Vincent Black Lightning that set an Australian land speed record in its day and more recently a world record for the highest price paid at auction for a motorcycle;
- Symbols of speed from a 1930s Triumph Speed Twin to a 1970s Ducati 750 Super Sport to the 1990s Britten V1000;
- Off-road motorcycles highlighting a rich history of bikes built for dust and dirt;
- Customised motorcycles at the intersection of art and design;
- Ultra-modern electric motorcycles, demonstrating the future of transportation in the age of renewable energy.
Ducati 750SS 1974
Britten V1000 1994
Deus Ex Machina ‘The Drover’s Dog’ 2009
Fuller Moto ‘2029’ 2019
Full Face: Artists’ Helmets
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.
Motorcycles on Screen
In association with ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, the Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) presents the free program ‘Motorcycles on Screen’, which explores the rich history of the vehicle in cinema, from the silent era to today. ‘Motorcycles on Screen’ runs until 25 April 2021.
Buy ‘The Motorcycle’ publication
With over 320 pages and 400 colour illustrations, The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire showcases 100 superb examples of motorcycle design from the late 19th century to the present day and beyond to the technological innovations of the future. Beautifully illustrated with newly commissioned photography and archival ephemera, this visually arresting survey of the motorcycle’s influence in realms as diverse as film, fashion, sport, advertising, and technology will prove compulsive reading to design lovers and motorcycle fans alike. Available at the QAGOMA Store and online
Get your motor running
Featured image: The Vincent Black Lightning was built at the Vincent works in UK, and produced from 1948 to 1952, at the time it was the fastest production motorcycle in the world / Vincent 998cc Black Lightning, Australia 1951 / © Bonhams Auctioneers
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