Art Bikes

Art Bike inspired by artist Frank Stella’s Tahkt-i-Sulayman, Variation II

As part of their 100th anniversary celebrations, Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) teamed up with area bike shop Handsome Cycles to bring some of the most famous masterpieces from their permanent collection to life in the form of three art-inspired bikes.

According to MIA Venture Innovation Director Hunter Wright, “The MIA is excited to partner with Handsome Cycles, a company that shares the museum’s commitment to embracing the local and integrating great design, technology, and experimentation, while staying true to its core values and community. ”

In order to make the “Art Bikes” a reality, Handsome Cycles collaborated with well known Minneapolis-based designers and artists, including KNOCK, inc., TREAT AND COMPANY, Peacock Groove, and Dirt Designs Graphic to create something extremely impressive.

The first bike is inspired by artist Frank Stella’s Tahkt-i-Sulayman, Variation II. The vibrant colours, circles and stripes of his 1969 painting are well replicated on the bike frame, red saddle and bar grips, and pink rimmed tires. If you look closely, even the chains links are intricately painted with the colour from the painting.

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The piece of art behind this bike is Frank Stella’s “Tahkt-i-Sulayman, Variation II,” from 1969. “Playing with color, lines and circles is fun,” explains Ben Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Handsome Cycles.
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The second bike draws inspiration from Hans Ledwinka’s 1948 Tatra T-87 Four-Door Sedan, a classic silver car with sweeping curvature and elegant lines. The smooth, full rear fender skirt is created with a metal sheet and drop handle bars are wrapped in tan leather. The bike also features a dynamo powered front light simlar to the ones on the car. The bike pays tribute to Ledwinka’s excellent craftsmanship and eye for detail.

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Art Bike inspired by Hans Ledwinka’s 1948 Tatra T-87 Four-Door Sedan

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“It’s something that none of us had ever done before. Using sheet metal to build this thing and lots of Bondo and sanding. By far the biggest challenge was, ‘How do we make this crazy cool custom rear wheel enclosure?’” said Morrison.
Art Bikes - 05 Art Bikes - 06The third bike is inspired by the impressionist style of Claude Monet’s 1891 painting: Grainstack, Sun in the Mist. The detailed and colorful paint job, a worn wooden crate, a pale brown saddle, grips and tires is reminiscent of a French countryside setting, where exactly this painting is.

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“We approached it with this idea of ‘Let’s design a bike that would be at home in this French countryside, where this painting is.’ That’s all we had to go on. With the car, we could pull distinct cues, but with the Monet, we had to get more abstract,” explained Morrison.

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While these functional bikes remain as pieces of art only, both MIA and Handsome Cycle are offering an exclusive line of visually stunning rideable bikes to celebrate the 100-year anniversary starting from just $1,099.

+ Minneapolis Instiute of Art (MIA)

+ Handsome Cycles

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