The joys of cycling in New York City include not only communing with the urban landscape, but also with a vibrant creative culture. Art with a bicycling theme appears in galleries and museums, but also in vacant lots and on street corners. Painters, sculptors and filmmakers draw inspiration from the mechanical miracle of physics that bicycles represent, from their motion and speed, and from the transformative potential of two-wheeled transportation. Here are eight of our favorite 2011 velojoy blog posts that celebrate cycling art and culture in NYC.

Piled On (above) – Damián Ortega’s Ulysses Way, a precariously balanced tower of household goods secured to a bicycle rack, exhibited at The Armory Show of contemporary art in Manhattan, is from his series inspired by news items — this one about flooding in Pakistan.

Inspired Graphics – On a visit to the exhibition of the American Institute of Graphic Arts 365 Design Effectiveness Competition for digital, print or cross-media design work, we noticed that more than a few of the winning entries were cycling inspired. The poster Joyeux represents a design firm’s work to prospective clients.

Street Opera – We loved the video Locomotive by filmmaker Geoff Feinberg. He teamed up with Nathan Baer (above), to reveal how a stressed-out bicycle messenger, who is also an opera singer, coped creatively with the overwhelming noise and confusion of NYC  streets.

Poetry in Motion – Standardized street signs sometimes become so familiar as to virtually disappear from our perceptions. Not so with the NYC Department of Transportation’s safety education campaign Curbside Haiku, with designs by artist John Morse.

Lawrence Weiner Bicycle Princess Sovereign - velojoy.com

Conceptual Art Travels – Lawrence Weiner, a founder of the conceptual art movement in the 1960s, put his mark on cycling this year in collaborating with the New Museum in Manhattan on a limited edition of Pashley bicycles with words and graphics by the artist.

David Byrne Tight Spot - velojoy.com

Squeeze Play – David Byrne, co-founder of the Talking Heads, filmmaker, artist and author of the book Bicycle Diaries playfully wedged a giant inflatable globe beneath the High Line in Chelsea. Tight Spot embodied both nostalgia and the hint of a world under pressure.

Yarn-Bombed – Cyclists in NYC have come to recognize the work of the fiber artist known as Olek in crochet-covered bicycles and tricycles that sometimes appear in the vicinity of bike lanes. Last spring, the artist took her work a step farther in teaming with new media artist Devan Harlan to “animate” her crochet patterns via video projection. View their trippy collaborative artwork, Suffolk Deluxe Electric Bicycle, I.

SoHo Joyride – Held in conjunction with the Bicycle Film Festival, the art show Joyride packed the Spencer Brownstone gallery in SoHo with admirers of bicycle-themed art, sculpture and photography.

(Photos: Joyeux, organgeflux.com; Curbside Haiku, NYC DOT; Lawrence Weiner Bicycle, New Museum; others, velojoy)


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2 Responses to 8 favorites: nyc cycling art and culture 2011

  1. Cyclelogical says:

    Such brilliant creativity. The Squeeze Play looks rad, wish I could have seen it in person.

    • velojoy says:

      That was a remarkable work. Among the pleasures of viewing it from the street in Chelsea was watching peoples’ reactions as they passed by. Children invariably wanted to climb out of their strollers to touch it! Thanks for your comment.

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