The Motorcycle
Design, Art, Desire

28 Nov 2020 – 26 Apr 2021
GOMA | Gallery 1.1 The Fairfax Gallery, Gallery 1.2, Gallery 1.3 Eric & Marion Taylor Gallery | Ticketed

This world-exclusive exhibition, only in Brisbane, will showcase the art, design and history of one of the most iconic objects of the last 150 years, the motorcycle.

Featuring more than 100 innovative and influential motorcycles from the 1860s to present day, it will consider the iconic vehicle from the perspective of social history, popular culture, design and technology.

The exhibition will tap into the appeal of this enduring object of design and art, looking at the motorcycle’s past, present and future.

Highlights of the exhibition will include:

  • An 1871 Perreaux, the first steam-powered velocipede and oldest known motorcycle in the world;
  • The earliest Australian-designed and built machines, including a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906;
  • 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;
  • Symbols of speed including the1930s Triumph Speed Twin, the 1970s Ducati 750 Super Sport, and the 1990s Britten V1000;
  • Off-road motorcycles highlighting a rich history of bikes built for dust and dirt;
  • Customised motorcycles at the intersection of art and design;
  • Ultra-modern electric motorcycles, demonstrating the future of transportation in the age of renewable energy.


Louis-Guillaume Perreaux / Vélocipède à vapeur c.1870

Louis-Guillaume Perreaux / Vélocipède à vapeur c.1870 / Département des Hauts-de-Seine / Musée du Domaine départemental de Sceaux / Photograph: Olivier Ravoire.

Spencer 1906 / Australian Motorlife Museum – Paul Butler Collection

Spencer 1906 / Australian Motorlife Museum – Paul Butler Collection / Photograph: Penelope Clay .

Majestic c.1929

Majestic c.1929 / Collection: Bobby Haas and Haas Moto Museum / © Haas Moto Galleries LLC / Photograph: Grant Schwingle .

Vincent Black Lightning 1951

Vincent Black Lightning 1951 / The Peter and Frances Bender Collection / © Bonhams Auctioneers .

Ducati 750SS 1974

Ducati 750SS 1974 / Private Collection / Photograph: John Downs .

Britten Motorcycle Company Ltd, Christchurch / Britten V1000 motorcycle 1991

Britten Motorcycle Company Ltd, Christchurch / Britten V1000 motorcycle 1991 / Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds / Collection: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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