Monday, January 30, 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

...or, A Boring Post.

I hate to admit it... yesterday was our first ride of the year. Lately things have conspired to keep it from happening but, knowing it was probably going to be a nice day, I just had to get the bikes out.

Now, there's a Big Dirty Secret here in SoCal. Whenever it's warm, the local news will ultimately say, "it was a beautiful day out today!". What they don't mention is, that when it's warm, it's usually very dirty, as in smoggy and I personally don't see the beauty in that.

Yesterday, was one of the rare warm but, cleaner days we get. Like the day after it rains.

To the west you could see the rarely visible San Nicholas Island and Catalina was so clear it looked like it was only 10 miles away.

My big mistake was that I didn't take a camera along so, I took a few photos upon our return to personally log and remember the day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wheels Keep on Turning / The Dance of the Spokes

Back around 1979 in an Illustration class in Art School , we were given an assignment after being exposed to the art of Marcel Duchamp. I don't remember the perimeters of the assignment other than this being one of the things I came up with.

My generation grew up building models. Marcel poked fun at the art world. This was my way at poking fun at him,"conceptual art", and the model kits of the sixties.

Marcel Duchamp is considered by some as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Before you laugh, you have to consider that he was poking fun at the art establishment but, also the first (for better or worst), to experiment with "conceptual art", decades before the term was ever coined.

Marcel's words from a website I found: "In 1913 I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool and watch it turn."

The two sides of the box I made. Having fun with how those old AMT and Revell model kits were sold as Three in One.

He continues, "The Bicycle Wheel is my first Readymade, so much so that at first it wasn't even called a Readymade. It still had little to do with the idea of the Readymade. Rather it had more to do with the idea of chance. In a way, it was simply letting things go by themselves and having a sort of created atmosphere in a studio, an apartment where you live. Probably, to help your ideas come out of your head. To set the wheel turning was very soothing, very comforting, a sort of opening of avenues on other things than material life of every day. I liked the idea of having a bicycle wheel in my studio. I enjoyed looking at it, just as I enjoyed looking at the flames dancing in a fireplace. It was like having a fireplace in my studio, the movement of the wheel reminded me of the movement of flames".

My miniature was based on the one above he made in 1951 for MOMA New York. In many ways it's the the most significant one, since it was the first to be exhibited to the art world. I'm guessing it was the one I saw in my class and art history book.

Duchamp said that the Bicycle Wheel was a "personal experiment", which was never intended to be shown to the public and wasn't formally shown in a gallery space until 1951.

The original Bicycle Wheel (l1913 France), was lost. The one to the left (also lost), was the first recreation made after Duchamp came to the USA in 1916. Many mistakingly refer to the 1916 version as the original since it's the first photographed. No, that's not me (on the right), in my studio. It's Marcel wearing a lampshade with a later recreation of the 1916 version in the sixties.

Since 1951 a few more Bicycle Wheel replicas were made. In Milan 1964, 8 were made based on the 1916 version under Duchamp's supervision and were signed. I came across one that was auctioned off for $1.7 million!

For my wheel, I used the front wheel off a Revell Chopped Hog Harley model. The fork is a cut down top fork tree from the Highway Patrol Harley model with model trees bent as legs. The stool was scratch built from balsa wood, wood dowels, and toothpicks.

Too me, there is something about the juxtaposition of the two objects. I also wonder if I'm the only one that can appreciate this strange combination of models from the sixties and art.

Now, before you shrug his concept off as stupid, think about it. 1. It wasn't Duchamp, rather the art community that made big deal of his Readymades. 2. It was a thinking machine for him to get ideas turning in his head. 3. Who can resist touching and turning a wheel? Who hasn't played with spinning a wheel, or been mesmerized by the criss cross visual flicker of the dance of the spokes?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

David Mann LA/Southbay Style

I've been thinking I'd like to post some more stuff that relates to this month's header but, have also known, I'm way overdue for posting some David Mann art. Then, as I was clearing out some files, I ran across this:
Was Dave purposely portraying a South Bay Chopper?

You might remember this from one of the Chopper Fest flyers. There's quite a few things of interest going on here. 1. Off hand, I can't think of any other of Dave's work featuring American 12 spoke mags. 2. The springer's front legs has a round perch like Dick Allen's did. 3. He's sort of revisiting the Hollywood Run with the sign and search lights. 4. It's signed Roach 1975, meaning it was done for Roach Studios, an old (t-shirt and decal), competitor of Ed Roth. Dave wasn't the only one that jumped ship. After Roth folded up shop, Ed Newton went over to Roach as it's art director. BTW Roach Studios has been rekindled and is now once again selling Newt's old designs.

All this, and the fact that my Google stats consistently show that the largest number of keyword searches are related to Dave's art, means there's a huge audience out there hungry for it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

An All Time Favorite

This month's header creates a good reason to post the last of the White Bear photos.

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, then you know that Joe Hurst's White Bear is one of my all time favorite bikes and also a perfect example of the South Bay Style.

Dick Allen thought so too. He loved Joe's bike and his own bike (Loco-Motion), pretty much matched it feature for feature. The only big differences are the paint, the use of a knucklehead, and a traditional spoked front wheel instead of a 12 spoke American mag.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Get the word out- Kill the Lightbox

I love blogger but hated when the new Lightbox viewing format came along. I like to see the images full size. Maybe I'm slow to the show, but just found out how to turn it off. If you agree, turn yours off too!

Here's how to do it

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Holiday Follow Up Chopper

I believe this is Doc Holiday once again with another chopper around 1973 in Lawndale, CA. I'm not sure if it's a rebuild of the bike from the earlier post. If it is, it's now more akin to other long South Bay bikes. Would like to see more of it. Photo courtesy of Joe Hurst.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Under the influence - 4 Pipes

When I saw this Knucklehead (on the Born Loser and Satan's Crate blogs), ...

It made me think of the Panhead below from Hell's Angels on Wheels.

Don't ya just love street scenes from the 60's?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This Month's Header-Workbench Wise Guys

Be it a project you have in mind or yourself, the beginning of the year is a natural time reflect and think about what your going to get done. For those in the colder climates, it's a natural time to fix or rebuild your bike.

This month's art was originally inspired by the art below. It's also inspired by events that may or may not have actually taken place. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely intentional.

Cool old art from something titled Workbench Wisdom. I don't recall what blog it came from.

I usually don't make resolutions but, this year I plan on getting a lot more stuff done including finally finishing a motorcycle and doing more art.

The other day I heard a study that said, 92% of new years resolutions are not kept. While that doesn't bode well, Why wait for New Years? You can decide to make a change any day of the year.