For the final post covering the Stages exhibition we’re going to focus on a series of custom designed bikes that were commisioned especially for the show. Not meant to sit solely within a gallery environment, Lance Armstrong will be riding these bikes at various stages throughout this year’s Tour de France, culminating in a rather special Damien Hirst butterfly inspired bike for the 21st and final stage this Sunday (26 July).
In a reflection of the exhibition, the artists involved customising these bikes is staggering and huge credit must go to those involved, both in curating and creating the artwork. To only talk about great artists producing great work would be to miss the point entirely, the emphasis is far more about great artists producing great work for a truly great cause, the Livestrong foundation. The fact that Lance Armstrong is encompassing all this and riding pieces of art only highlights the awareness and the fact so many people are talking about it.
The artists involved in customising a variety of Trek bikes are KAWS, Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey, Marc Newson, Yoshitomo Nara and Damien Hirst whose work can all be seen on the Trek site and on their flickr.
Damien Hirst customised a Trek Madone with an array of real butterflies from the frame down to the rims, which also bear a repeating butterfly pattern and as he explains “It was a great opportunity to work with someone I admire and create the bike — something I’ve never done before. The technical problems were immense, as I wanted to use real butterflies and not just pictures of butterflies, because I wanted it to shimmer when the light catches it like only real butterflies do, and we were trying not to add any extra weight to the bike. Doing something crazy like this is ultimately about transportation and not simply transport, and what Lance does when he rides it is the same thing. I think Lance loves it!”