An incredible group of young builders and artists who have been inspired by the iron stylings of previous generations will be creating new works that reflect the attitude and attributes of the present in the Buffalo Chip’s 2017 Motorcycles as Art exhibit, “ Old Iron Young Blood ; Motorcycles and the Next-Gen,” curated by famed motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter. Forty builders under 36 years of age have accepted the challenge to build a custom masterpiece especially for this exhibit, each of which will be displayed atop elevated pedestals and lit with theater lights to better give guests an open view from every angle. The exhibition is free to the public and open in the Buffalo Chip’s Event Center 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 5 through Friday, Aug. 11. More information can be found at MotorcyclesAsArt.com.
Creating an exhibition themed around the next generation of builders and bikes ensures an incredibly diverse offering, from cafes to street trackers to old school choppers and modern customs. Some builders, such as Matt Olsen, Matt Walksler, Zach Johnson and Zach Ness, grew up in their own family’s motorcycle businesses, while others came into building when they were older, eventually starting their own commercial shops. Still others have day jobs and work on their bikes in home garages in what waking hours they have left.
“The 40 builders and 14 two-dimensional artists will come together as 53 creatives to examine just what this generation is interested in, what they are capable of and what is coming around the bend,” said exhibit curator Michael Lichter. “In addition to an age limit on the builder, each bike must be a new build completed within a few months of the show opening and many of the bikes will be ‘unveiled’ for the first time at the exhibition.”
Throughout the history of motorcycle customization, one can see that individual artists draw inspiration from his or her most impressionable moments, experiences which often mark both the timeline of their lives and of an entire generation. The old iron that returning veterans of the ‘40s twisted, stretched and chopped echoed the frustrations of a generation of GIs who were ravaged by war and yearned to be free. Today’s young bloods are creating bikes that are inspired by old iron, yet reflect the more calculated interests and accessible technology of the present. Though many define this generation as “Millennials,” the burgeoning masters of the motorcycle industry displaying their work in this exhibit have broken any constraints or negative stereotypes associated with the term.
“Michael has again put together an exhibit that explores the changing landscape of the motorcycle culture in a way that only the world’s leading motorcycle photographer could reveal,” said Rod Woodruff, Sturgis Buffalo Chip President. “We are witnessing the birth of a new generation of talent, the up-and-coming masters of an art. This exhibit offers the chance to simultaneously see the wave of the future and the influence of the past, an opportunity no biker should miss.”