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Queensland Art Gallery revs up to reopen next week ahead of 'The Motorcycle'
Henderson Four 1912. Courtesy: Clyde Crouch Collection. Photo: Robert LaPrelle.

BRISBANE.- From 7 August the doors of Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art are set to reopen as preparations for the world exclusive exhibition ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ rev up.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said thousands of visitors had returned to experience the permanent collection and exhibitions including ‘Mavis Ngallametta: Show Me the Way to Go Home’ since QAG reopened on 23 June.

‘Now, in line with the Queensland Government’s Roadmap to Recovery and our COVID-19 safety plan in place, we look forward to welcoming visitors back to our second site the Gallery of Modern Art as we prepare for our must-see summer exhibition, ‘The Motorcycle’.

‘From 28 November to 26 April, 2021, ‘The Motorcycle’ will feature more than 100 motorcycles from the 1870s to the present day, right across GOMA’s entire ground floor.

‘It will run the full design gamut from the earliest 19th century steam-powered motorcycle, the circa 1870 Perreaux Vélocipède à vapeur on loan from Paris, right through to new electric bikes heralding the future, such as the Savic C-Series Alpha, a 2020 release from Australian automotive designer Dennis Savic.

‘The exhibition will appeal not only to bike and motor sport enthusiasts but to anyone with an interest in social history, popular culture, design and technology,’ Mr Saines said.

‘The Motorcycle’ offers multiple interactive experiences for visitors of all ages and it includes a green screen motorcycle riding experience, a motorcycle design studio where you can build and customise your own virtual bike and a mobile companion site to help you navigate 150 years of motorcycle design history and learn the stories behind each of the bikes on display.

Curated by distinguished US-based design curator and physicist Professor Charles M. Falco and writer and filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle in collaboration with QAGOMA, the exhibition explores pioneering motorcycles and classic commuters, off-road bikes and speed machines, as well as custom creations and motorcycle designs of the future. Among the many highlights in the exhibition will be:

• A rare 1906 Spencer, one of the very earliest Australian motorcycles designed and manufactured in Auchenflower, Brisbane;

• A 1920 Indian Scout “Munro Special” created by the legendary NZ rider Burt Munro;

• A 1927 Harley-Davidson FHA 8-valve speedway racer with sidecar;

• The 1951 Vincent Black Lightning that set an Australian land speed record in its day and more recently a world record for the highest price paid at auction for a motorcycle;

• Impressive speed machines such as a 1916 Indian 8-valve board track racer, a 1974 Ducati 750SS and a 1994 Britten V1000, created by New Zealand design engineer, John Britten;

• The 2016 Dakar winning KTM Rally 450 motorcycle ridden by celebrated Australian motorsport champion Toby Price;

• Sleek custom objects of desire including the 2016 Black Knight designed by Max Hazan, Bandit 9’s 2016 Eve Mk II, Craig Rodsmith’s 2018 Corps Léger and the 2019 Fuller Moto '2029'.

During ‘The Motorcycle’, audiences can also experience ‘Full Face: Artists’ Helmets’, a showcase of some of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists responding to the motorcycle helmet. Artists featured in ‘Full Face’ include Archie Moore, Brian Robinson, Callum McGrath, Eric Bridgeman, eX de Medici, Ghost Patrol, Guan Wei, Kate Beynon, Madeleine Kelly, Monika Behrens, Nell, Reko Rennie, Robert Moore, Shaun Gladwell and TextaQueen.

Accompanying the exhibition is a major film program screening in the Gallery’s Australian Cinémathèque that includes classics such as The Great Escape 1963 starring Steve McQueen and contemporary interpretations of motorcycle culture captured in films such as Akira 1988, The Motorcycle Diaries 2004 and Finke: There and Back 2018.

‘The Motorcycle’ is accompanied by a hardcover 320 page book co-published with Phaidon. Celebrating the history and future of the motorcycle, the book includes images of the motorcycles featured in the exhibition and essays from the exhibition co-curators. Purchase at GOMA store or online at

Tickets to 'The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire' are now on sale at

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