The Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition design: Frank Gehry Museum design: Rem Koolhaas
Guggenheim Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
On view: October 07, 2001 - January 06, 2003
A spectacular phantasmagoria of stainless steel plates, translucent glass, steel mesh and strobe lights, it encapsulates all you need to know about a motorcycle's modern meaning. Gehry uses his machine materials to fracture, reflect and diffuse light, creating sexy, highly organic, frankly theatrical forms, from billowing clouds and monumental floral blossoms to great curtain swags. Glamour and erotic thrill summarize the motorcycle aesthetic./Christopher Knight, Art Critic, Los Angeles Times
Gehry's building-within-a-building features enormous curved polished stainless steel architectural structures, towering chain link curtains, glass floors and partitions, large scale graphics, and a massive glass box coated with an iridescent film. At certain angles this box appears opaque, with moving images of motorcycles projected onto the surface, and from other vantage points the box is clear, revealing the motorcycles within.
With more than 120 motorcycles on display, the exhibition
chronicles the most compelling moments in motorcycle design and
technology; exploring the motorcycle as a quintessential symbol of
The hundred or so examples in the show range across more than a century and include the most innovative and beautiful, mint-condition vehicles imaginable. The 60 feet high and 120 feet wide Guggenheim Media Wall is divided into segments each displaying different manifestations of the motorcycle as seen in moving images.
You see yourself and the motorcycles distorted in the curved reflective panels and you get to walk around, inside and under the enveloping curves. The effect, as intended, is showy, sexy, dynamic, dreamy, funny.
This first large scale exhibition in the "Big Box"; the 63,700 square foot exhibition hall of the Guggenheim Las Vegas, inaugurated in October 2001, demonstrates the capacity and versatility of the new seven story tall museum space.
The Guggenheim Las Vegas, Designed by Rem Koolhaas, was conceived as an exhibition hall for the presentation of special projects, ranging from contemporary paintings and sculpture, to architecture and design, and multimedia art.
Rem Koolhaas brings an industrial aesthetic, an impeccable precision, and a powerful sense of space and humor to all aspects of the design. The result is not only an absolutely unique space, but also a breathtakingly beautiful one./Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Last updated: December 19, 2013