a six-figure custom bike that comes fully loaded

Ulysses Bike by Damian Ortega
photo: velojoy
As I was walking the aisles of The Armory Show last weekend, overwhelmed not only by the dizzying verve of contemporary works presented by 270 galleries and private dealers, but also by the restless energy of the art-craving crowd, my eyes came to rest upon a sculpture (above) by the Mexican artist Damián Ortega. It was fun to look at based on its daring precariousness alone. Mr. Ortega’s Ulysses Way, a neatly bundled tower of household goods lashed to the rear rack of a Peugot bicycle, is one of a series inspired by news items in 2010, this one by flooding in Pakistan.

Mr. Ortega is perhaps better known for his dis-assemblages. In a noted 2002 sculpture, Cosmic Thing, he dismantled a Volkswagen Beetle and suspended all its parts from wires in midair. According to his biography, the artist, who has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Modern in London, among many others, is interested in “exploring how regional culture affects commodity consumption.” Speaking of which…I’m usually somewhat hesitant to ask about prices – cowed by the “If you have to ask…” aloofness of countless steely-eyed gallerinas in Chelsea, and perhaps fearful of blurting an immoderate remark – but how could I resist? The representative of London’s White Cube gallery, a very courteous gentlemen, offered no hesitation in quoting $225,000.

photo: velojoy

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