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

‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’ opened the throttle on the ground-breaking designs that shaped one of the most iconic objects the world has ever seen.

Read more about each motorcycle, or watch the co-curator highlights on the QAGOMA Blog.

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

Featuring radical concepts, record breakers and road icons, the fully-immersive exhibition showcased 100 innovative and influential motorcycles from the 1860s to present day, it considered the vehicle from the perspective of social history, popular culture, design and technology.

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

Highlights included:

  • 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.
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Works in this exhibition are protected under the Australian Government’s Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. Find out more