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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

A Huge Exhibition Dedicated to the History of Motorbikes Is Coming to GOMA This Summer

The Brisbane-exclusive exhibition will feature interactive experiences, movie screenings and the world's oldest motorbike.
By Sarah Ward
February 27, 2020
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A Huge Exhibition Dedicated to the History of Motorbikes Is Coming to GOMA This Summer

The Brisbane-exclusive exhibition will feature interactive experiences, movie screenings and the world's oldest motorbike.
By Sarah Ward
February 27, 2020
  shares

In recent years, Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art has played host to an array of weird and wonderful exhibits. The Hulk's giant bed, a real-life snowman and Patricia Piccinini's otherworldly field of not-quite-flowers have all graced the South Brisbane site's halls and walls, as have David Lynch's inimitable art and a recreation of a real-life riverbed. But come summer 2020–21, the cultural institution is heading in a completely different direction. A gallery-wide celebration of motorcycles mightn't be the kind of thing you'd generally expect to find at GOMA; however, that's exactly what'll be on display from November this year till April 2021.

Called The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire, the Queensland-exclusive showcase will explore the two-wheeled vehicle's enduring appeal — from the way it looks and how it has evolved over the years, to the way it's portrayed in popular culture and how it makes people feel. Obviously, the exhibition will do so by displaying plenty of motorbikes. Sourced from public and private collections from around the world, more than 100 will ride into GOMA — with some dating back more than 150 years.

That'd be the Michaux-Perreaux steam-powered velocipede from 1868, which is the oldest-known motorbike on the planet. It'll be joined by a selection of the first Aussie built and designed motorcycles, including one made in Brisbane in 1906; record-breaking bikes, such as the land speed record-breaking 1951 Vincent Black Lightning; and a lineup of super-modern motorcycles that represent the vehicle's future.

Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede (1869). Collection du musée du domaine départemental. Photo by Olivier Ravoire.

Honing in on the motorcycle's importance not just as a mode of transport, but as an ever-evolving machine, The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire will also feature interactive experiences — and while GOMA hasn't revealed what they'll be just yet, you can reasonably expect it'll be something more exciting than just hopping on a motorbike and driving around South Bank.

Up Late events will form part of the program, too, for those wanting to party in the gallery and peer at historic motorcycles after dark. And, because there are quite a few motorbike-related movies to choose from — Easy Rider, Mad Max, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Purple Rain and Hot Rod, for example — GOMA's Australian Cinematheque will also get into the same gear, with its lineup set to be unveiled closer to the exhibition.

The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire will display at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art from November 28, 2020–April 26, 2021. For further information or to buy tickets, visit the exhibition website.

Top images: Vincent Black Lightning (1951), image courtesy Bonhams; Majestic 350 (1930), photo by Olivier de Vaulx; Megola Sport (1922), courtesy Guggenheim Museum, photo by David Heald.

Published on February 27, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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