(L-R) Keith Weesner, Copper Chopper, 2002, Courtesy of Coby Gewertz private collection; 1947 Harley-Davidson UL motorcycle, Courtesy of Flathead Jedd, Photo by Flathead Jedd; Keith Weesner, Thrill Hungry, 2004, Courtesy of Coby Gewertz private collection.
Forest Lawn Museum presents Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle, an exhibition of distinctive and artfully designed motorcycles, intricately painted motorcycle parts and accessories, and motorcycle-themed artworks. On view at Forest Lawn Museum from Friday, June 27, 2014 through Monday, January 5, 2015, Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle is the latest presentation in Forest Lawn Museum’s celebrated history of unique, exciting and popular exhibitions.
Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle is a meticulously curated exhibition that will offer an in-depth look at the dynamic history of motorcycle culture, spotlighting the impact and influence of the West Coast and featuring some of the most striking, modern, historic, rare and collectable vintage motorcycles; one-of-a-kind, hand-painted motorcycle helmets, previously worn by world and national racing champions; painted motorcycle gas tanks and fenders; as well as paintings, sculpture and photographs by a dozen of today’s most celebrated motorcycle artists—many of whom are Southern California natives and/or residents.
Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle highlights Southern California’s historic zeal for motorcycle culture and will feature compelling motorcycles—from renowned Southern California collections—and artworks from the early twentieth century through today, including a Transformer motorcycle that was featured in the blockbuster 2009 movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, built by, and from the collection of, custom motorcycle designer and builder Will Kenefick; a 1968 ESO speedway bike from the collection of former world champion speedway racer Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz; a mid-1960s vintage Harley-Davidson drag bike from the collection of Louis Fisher, renowned for his collection of vintage race bikes and motorcycles; a 1953 Gilera Road Racer from the collection of Barry Weiss, star of A&E’s Storage Wars and Barry’d Treasure; a 1947 Harley-Davidson UL motorcycle from the collection of Flathead Jedd, co-founder of the Wingnuts Motorcycle Club; a 1939 Indian Chief motorcycle once owned by actor Steve McQueen from the collection of Tom Hart; a 1938 Crocker motorcycle made locally in Culver City, CA; a 1938 Indian Sport Scout Flat Track Racer from the collection of Tony Dodge, co-owner of Dodge Brothers Racing, the 2013 AMA Pro Grand National Champions; a stunning 100-year-old restored factory original 1914 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that is as perfect as the day it rolled off the floor of the Milwaukee, WI factory; as well as a beautifully restored solid orange 1910 Flying Merkel motorcycle with gold pinstriping.
In addition to the distinctive collection of unique and iconic motorcycles, Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle will also feature an exciting collection of vibrantly painted motorcycle helmets by the internationally renowned Troy Lee Designs® (TLD), which is recognized as the world’s premier custom helmet paint shop; intricately painted gas tanks and motorcycle fenders by Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan, of Discovery Channel’s former Monster Garage fame; and elaborately painted motorcycle gas tanks by sought-after artist Sara Ray.
Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle will also present a selection of paintings by such celebrated artists as painter Tom Fritz, the six-time recipient of the prestigious Peter Helck Award; visual futurist and conceptual artist Syd Mead; internationally renowned artist William Stout; painter, illustrator and former Warner Bros. animator Keith Weesner; artist and hotrod graphics master Von Franco, a former apprentice of the late celebrated cartoonist, pinstriper and custom car designer and builder “Big Daddy” Ed Roth; a motorcycle-themed bronze sculpture by internationally renowned sculptor Jeff Decker; and artists Alan Fitzgerald, Troy Lee and Sara Ray. The exhibition will also feature paintings by legendary illustrator and movie poster artist Drew Struzan, whose work was recently presented at the Museum in the exhibition Drew & Bob: The Masters of Movie Art.
“This exhibition will take audiences on a journey through time—spanning more than a century and depicting some of the most extraordinary motorcycles, and motorcycle art, that have carried racers and motorcycle aficionados up and down the West Coast and across the United States,” said Museum Director and exhibition co-curator Joan P. Adan. “There is something for everyone: incredible artistry, stunning design, impressive mechanics, and decades of exciting motorcycle memories and racing stories.”
Added co-curator and motorcycle historian/collector John Parker: “We’ve brought together some of the most rare and desirable motorcycles, plucked from world famous and private collections. I have loved and been obsessed with motorcycles since I was a small child, and this show traces the evolution of motorcycle design, mechanics, racing, utility and function that complements the motorcycle art that has become such an important and integral part of motorcycle culture.”
Recently named one of the Top 10 Free Museums in the country by Yahoo Travel, Forest Lawn Museum is located on the 290-acre Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Glendale, which has been a renowned Southern California landmark since 1906. Featuring a stunning array of art, architecture and three beautiful churches—Forest Lawn Museum is committed to enriching the community through the educational presentation of artwork that focuses on history, culture and religion.
Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle is organized and curated by Forest Lawn Museum Director Joan P. Adan and motorcycle historian/collector John Parker.
As director of Forest Lawn Museum, Adan presents artwork, subjects and installations that resonate with contemporary society and today’s broader cultural context. Oftentimes uniquely constructed from—and depicting—popular and iconic artifacts and themes, her carefully curated shows engage audiences of all ages and intellectual and socioeconomic backgrounds with their compelling visual appeal and socio-cultural resonance. From exhibitions presenting assemblages of mass produced objects, to classic American articles, images and sculptural figures, Adan’s shows challenge audiences to consider traditional notions of contemporary art and evoke nostalgic emotions that connect viewers’ personal experiences with the, sometimes, everyday figures and themes presented in her exhibitions.
A motorcycle historian and collector of antique motorcycles, John Parker has more than 15 years of experience as a sought-after promoter of motorcycle and hotrod shows. A former motorcycle racer and restorer of vintage motorcycles, he also spent many years working in the film and entertainment business. A native of Southern California, Parker formerly worked for legendary motorcycle racer and Steve McQueen’s stuntman Bud Ekins, who also had a renowned motorcycle collection. Following his work with Ekins and with Kenneth Howard, famously known as Von Dutch, Parker worked in special effects with Local 44, a professional association of craft persons with specialized skills and talents within the entertainment industry, including as a welder, fabricator and car specialist on such blockbuster films as Oceans 11, The Italian Job and the original Back to the Future. Parker founded the mountain bike manufacturing company Yeti Cycles, which he sold in 1995 to Schwinn Bicycles.
Vroom: The Art of the Motorcycle will be accompanied by a full-color catalog.