“Built for Speed – Race Inspired Motorcycles and Art” is the title of Michael Lichter’s 14th annual “Motorcycles as Art” exhibition in Sturgis this August, which for the second year in a row, will be jointly curated by Michael and Paul d’Orleans of the Vintagent. ‘Built for Speed’ is sure to impress visitors with a beautiful and thought-provoking display of motorcycles and related art, the race-inspired theme making connections between motorcycle racing and custom bike designs inspired by racers.
Each custom bike in ‘Built for Speed’ reflects a branch of racing; Speedway, Flat Track, Drag Racing, Board Track, Grand Prix, Land Speed Record, and will be displayed beside the racing machines suggesting the origins of each style. On the walls surrounding these awesome bike will be race-themed painting, photography, helmets and prints by artists equally inspired by competition motorcycles in action.
The 32-motorcycles in ‘Built for Speed’ include customs by long established and emerging builders, side by side with factory-loaned machines. Builder sending bikes include Alan Stulberg (Revival Cycles), Arlen Ness, Bill Dodge (Blings Cycles), Bill Rodencal (Fat Dog Racing), Brandon Holstein (Brawny Built), Brian Klock (Klockwerks), Dan “Bacon” Carr (DC Choppers), Dan Rognsvoog with Skip Schulze, Jason Paul Michaels (Dime City Cycles), John Reed, Kenji “Ken” Nagai (Ken’s Factory, Japan), Kevin Baas (Baas Metal Craft), Kirk Taylor (Custom Design Studios), Matt Olsen (Carl’s Cycle), Michael O’Shea (Medaza Cycles, Ireland), Nate Jacobs (Harlot Cycles), Pat Patterson (Led Sled Customs), Paul Cox (Paul Cox Industries), Paul Wideman (Bare Knuckle Choppers), Roland Sands (RSD), Skeeter Todd, Tator Gilmore, Warren Lane and Zach Ness (Arlen Ness, Inc). Factory-built machines include a custom Street 750 from the Harley-Davidson design department, Indian’s “Spirit of Munro” Jeb Scolman built streamliner and a Land Speed Racer from Confederate Motorcycles alongside Icon’s “Iron Lung” road racer, George Smith’s “Tramp” (replica) from S&S, Deus Ex Machina’s “DAKDAAK” Honda CRF 450X and Clem Johnson’s original Vincent “Barn Job” from John Stein. Artists on the walls include Conrad Leach, Darren McKeag, David Uhl, Eric Hermann, Harpoon, Jeff Nobles, Marc Lacourciere, Michael Lichter, Richie Pan, Scott Jacobs, Scott Takes, Susan McLaughlin and Paul d’Orléans, Tom Fritz, Trish Horstman and an all new “21 Helmets” display of race inspired Bell Helmets from SeeSee Motor-Coffee in Portland.
Customized motorcycles have often taken inspiration from racing machines, as witnessed in the ‘Cut-downs’ of the 1920s, ‘Bob-jobs’ of the 1930s, Café Racers of the 1950s, ‘Drag-bike’ choppers of the 1960s, and ‘Street Trackers’ of the 1970s. All of these styles are hugely popular with customizers today, which speaks to the enduring appeal of a racing motorcycle’s purity of purpose in its design. It’s a subject the ‘Motorcycle as Art’ exhibit explored last year in our ‘Ton Up!’ show about café racers and related customs (which became a book – ‘Café Racers’, published by Motorbooks), and this year Michael Lichter and Paul d’Orleans widen the scope of the exhibit to include even more branches of racing, and the beautifully crafted custom bikes taking inspiration from the types of original racers on display.
As always, entry to the Buffalo Chip’s 7,000′ purpose-built Michael Lichter art gallery is FREE and this year, hours have been extended, now opening at 10:30 am into the evening concert hours. The show opens on Saturday August 2 and closes Friday night August 9. To find the gallery, head to the Buffalo Chip and turn east on Alkali Road; go to the east entrance. The gallery is next to the east entrance and does not require a ticket to enter.
See below for a sample of what you will see at the exhibit: