Art Motorcycl Hardcover – Sep 1998
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The Art of the Motorcycle begins with a serious preface by Guggenheim director Thomas Krens, who calls the motorcycle "a quintessential symbol of the insecurity and optimism of our time." At 411 pages long (an ll-page, single-spaced bibliography of motorcycle books carries it over the top), it is a hefty compendium of motorcycle history, culture, design, and science. While the essays range from treatises to such fun stuff as "Bikes were always work for me," a long poem by Dennis Hopper, this thoroughgoing tome is above all a meticulous catalogue of the 96 motorcycles exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum during the summer of 1998, with details about engine design as well as esthetics. "Another significant innovation is the machine's throttle-controlled oiler," we read of the 1911 electric-orange Flying Merkel Model V. "Lubrication was a continuing problem in the early days ... but Merkel's system ... preceded by nearly two decades both Indian's as well as Harley-Davidson's adoption of this feature." The bikes are documented with crystal-clear photographs in this precision-built book. --Peggy Moorman
Top Customer Reviews
Within the limitations of those realities, here is a book that is endlessly fascinating and pleasing, replete with photos that while technically excellent are for the most part static and thus devoid of context. The essays, although pleasant, lack edge and passion, thus failing to evoke the adrenal glands (which operate at high levels when pushing a motorcycle to the limit).
The descriptions of the machines, from knowledgeable masters such as Kevin Cameron, capture the essence of what the designer tried to do and how well he (no known female motorcycle designers, but correct me if I'm wrong) hit his target.
This is a book to which one can return again and again with pleasure. For a rider who has survived (I confess, in context, that I'm the survivor of 1.6m miles on two wheels) and ridden any of these wondrous devices, the book is a channel back in time that the book conveys magnificently.
It is to the credit of the Guggenheim and the sponsors, such as BMW, that the show/book could be produced and could demonstrate to a wide public the fascination of motorcycles and riding them.
Even non-riders, who have seen motorcycles on the road or who may know motorcycle enthusiasts, will start to comprehend the addictive fascination that possesses riders who can't stop. If you are persuaded to ride, please wear the best gear you can afford, get training and realize that roadcraft only comes from mileage undertaken humbly but decisively, the kinesthetic realities no book, however good, can convey.
It is unusual for me, a motorcyclist, to think of bikes as works of art. However, the photography of this book focuses my eyes and brain in new directions. After all, they didn't have to make that AJS clutch look like that, nor did the cases on the Italian bikes need to have that sensuous curve. Such is the Art of the Motorcycle and it is presented well here. If you missed the show at the Guggenheim or want to relive your visit, this book will suffice.
Keep it on your coffee table.
Then I received this book for Christmas. WOW! every detail, every motorcycle, every nuance of the real thing, faithfully reproduced in a series of stunningly artistic photographs. A number of interesting and well written articles and essays round out the volume. All in all, a very satisfying read. I recommend it highly if you have any liking for two wheel transportation.
Most recent customer reviews
This book contains a good overview of motorcycling history, but its claims to fame are the wonderful photography and the high production values with which it was printed. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2001 by S. Garrett
more than onehundred pages of motorcycle history, culture and sport,hundreds of high quality pictures with more history on specific makes & models. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2001
One of the best motorcycle books I have ever seen. Worth every penny.Published on June 1 2001 by Raymon
If you can only have one book of this type, this is the one to have. The photos alone are worth the cost and the thoughtful commentary and essays are an added bonus. Read morePublished on May 25 2001 by Richard E. Finger
Don't let the price put you off. This book is well worth the price. The color pictures alone are worth it all. Read morePublished on April 7 1999
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