The world-exclusive exhibition, ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ opens at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from 28 November 2020 to 26 April 2021.

Minister for Science and the Arts Leeanne Enoch today announced ‘The Motorcycle’ would feature the most innovative and influential motorcycles created over the last 150 years.

‘From The Great Escape, Easy Rider and 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,” Minister Enoch said.

‘The one-of-a-kind exhibition at GOMA is set to tap into the appeal of this iconic object of design and art through a thrilling and immersive installation experience that will not be shown anywhere else in the world and will be must-see for locals and visitors to Queensland.

‘The Queensland Government is providing funding of $4 million over two years (2019-20 and 2020-21) to support QAGOMA to show exclusive exhibitions like this in Queensland, attract visitors to our state and enhance our reputation as a globally significant visual arts destination.’

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said securing blockbuster exhibitions like ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, emphasised Queensland’s standing as a leading cultural destination.

‘We invest in events because they support local jobs,’ Ms Jones said.

‘Tourists want to experience something they can’t get anywhere else when they’re on holiday.

‘Bringing this exhibition exclusively to Queensland will be a major drawcard for thousands of tourists. We expect this exhibition alone to generate more than 63 000 visitor nights for local businesses.

‘To date, the Palaszczuk Government’s support for exclusive exhibitions through QAGOMA has generated almost $85 million, with close to 78 000 people travelling to Queensland specifically for these events.

‘When it comes to major events, we’ve got the runs on the board. We’ve more than doubled the value of Queensland’s major events calendar which will generate around $880 million for our state in 2020.’

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ would feature more than 100 motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day, 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,’ Mr Saines said.

‘Over its 150-year history, the motorcycle has undergone extraordinary reinvention, from steam power to petrol-fueled 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. We look forward to presenting this comprehensive survey of a universal machine designed to inspire freedom and escape through affordable mobility.

‘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 will include interactive experiences for visitors, and appeal not only to bike and motor sport enthusiasts but to anyone curious about social history, popular culture, design and technology,’ Mr Saines said.

‘The Motorcycle’ is curated by renowned design curators, physicist Professor Charles M. Falco and writer and filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle, in collaboration with QAGOMA.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • A 1868 Michaux-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.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a public program, Up Late program and specially curated film program, along with a major hardcover publication.

‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland.

Tickets to ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ are now on sale at www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/themotorcycle

Skye Leong
Author: Skye Leong

Creativity, Community, Culture