Sturgis "Motorcycles as Art" display to highlight cafe racer culture

Publish Date: 
May 29, 2013

STURGIS, S.D. - For the 13th year renowned artist Michael Lichter brings his "Motorcycles as Art" event to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with a brand-new exhibit entitled "Ton Up! Speed, Style and Cafe Racer Culture" that will focus on the origins and continued popularity of the cafe racer movement.

The display, co-curated by Lichter and Paul d'Orleans, will feature 32 machines from 12 marques and six decades along with never-before-published photography from the original cafe racing scene in 1960s-era England to the present. The display also will feature paintings by Triumph "resident artist" Conrad Leach, images from the Ace Cafe Collection, vintage leather "Rocker" jackets from the Lewis Leathers archive, the "One Show" display of 21 custom-painted helmets, painting by Andrea Chiaravalli and photography by Erick Runyon. And that's just the beginning, Lichter said, as more artists are expected to join in the coming weeks.

Bikes Lichter confirmed for this exhibit include premium examples of 1950s-1960s cafe racers (Gold Star, Norvin, Triton, Dunstall and more) from Herb Harris of Harris Vincent Gallery; Yoshi Kosaka of Garage Co.; Mark Mederski of the National Motorcycle Museum; and Gordon McCall of the Quail Motorsports gathering. Also included will be Willie G. Davidson's No. 0001 1977 XLCR,  plus machines from Alain Bernard, Arlen Ness, Bryan Fuller, Brian Klock, David Edwards, Dustin Kott, Giuseppe Carucci, Greg Hageman, Jason Michaels, Jay Hart, Jay LaRossa, Kevin Dunworth, Harley-Davidson design director Ray Drea, Roland Sands, Shinya Kimura, Skeeter Todd, Steve “Brew Dude” Garn, Steve "Carpy" Carpenter, Thor Drake, Vincent Prat  of Southsiders MC, and Zach Ness.  

Included in the show will be original or modified motorcycles by BMW, BSA, Ducati, Honda, Harley-Davidson, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Rickman, Triumph, Vincent and Yamaha. 

This year's Motorcycles as Art exhibition will live on in the coffee-table book Ton Up - Speed, Style and Cafe Racer Culture, to published by Motorbooks International, Lichter said. The book will include photos of all the motorcycles in this year's display, plus the jackets, artwork and other images from the exhibit. In addition, d’Orléans will insert a comprehensive history of the café racer movement, from its deep origins in speed-modified road bikes to the ‘classic’ period in England in the 1950s/60s, through its various resurrections in the 1970s and 1980s, and its resurrected popularity today.

"Ton Up! - Speed, Style and Cafe Racer Culture” sponsors include GEICO Motorcycle, DHL, Handy Industries, Hot Leathers, Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys and Spectro Performance Oils. The exhibition will be open Aug. 3 through 9 next to the east gate of the Buffalo Chip Campground east of downtown Sturgis. Admission is free. 

The ‘Motorcycles as Art’ exhibitions are hosted each year by the Legendary Buffalo Chip, this year celebrating its 32nd consecutive annual concert series during the rally.

From a press release. Posted by Mary Slepicka