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Art Motorcycl Hardcover – Jun 27 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (June 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810969122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810969124
  • Product Dimensions: 31.6 x 26.6 x 4.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #782,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Museums, exhibits and the books devolving from them only hint at the mysteries they purport to show but rarely reveal. This is particularly true of exhibits of things that move, whether airplanes, cars and motorcycles on one hand, or people on the other. Once mummified via restoration and encapsulated in historical review, these lively subjects lose their kinesthetic value and become dessicated.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
If you didn't get to the Guggenheim Museum to see the Motorcycle as Art exhibit, or did and want a great book showcasing this historic event, and the artistic contribution that motorcycles have made to the modern age, this is the book to have. The opening text, composed of observations of the motorcycle as an art form and reflection of the dawning machine age, through the present and even into the future, is written (mostly) by obvious non-motorcyclists and it shows in their sometimes incorrect facts and inane assumptions. Dennis Hopper wrote a long poem that is simply drivel. But the photos, and text that accompanies them, is superb and the choice of bikes to represent the history of motorcycles is near flawless. There are a few types of bikes or special individual motorcycles missing, that such a collection should have had. Something from Arlen Ness, maybe Russ Collins' triple engined top-fuel bike and even a Harley Davidson "Rat". But the entire collection from the exhibit is here and the photography is beuitiful. Non-motorcyclists will appreciate what the Guggenheim has set out to do and succeeded brilliantly at... to show that motorcycles have been a real contribution to the world's art and technology, despite whether you ride or not. There is surely no better book to place in your motorcycle library or on your coffee table, even if your not a motorcyclist. I bought mine at the museum, for $75, and it was worth that much and more.
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Format: Hardcover
A fine selection of motorcycles, excellent photography and interesting essays make this a book that will keep you warm all winter. The descriptions of the bikes and why they were important to motorcycle development are accurate and well written. The selection of essays reflect riding culture well and present it in a way that shows how motorcycles have reflected the values of society.
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.
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By A Customer on Feb. 7 1999
Format: Hardcover
After have the privilege to view this marvelous display that the Guggenheim has put together you want to go back again & again to go over details you may have missed. Since this is not always possible why not have the next best thing. The photos alone are worth the price of the book especially as you can NOT take any pictures while viewing the bikes in their museum setting. Not all of them were on display in Chicago so for us it is the only way to see the ones that weren't there. But not only that to be able to go back & say remember that one, you know the one with the wooden wheels, the one that guy rode laying down on his stomach in a swimsuit, the Brittan....Thank you Thomas & crew for an excellent job.
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Format: Hardcover
I attended the "Art of the Motorcycle" exhibit at the Guggenheim while on vacation in NY. I drooled and "ooh-ed" and "ah-ed" at every turn. My only regret was the fact that I would have to rely on my feeble memory to recount to all my friends at home the wonders of the experience.
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.
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