are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hey Lance, where was the love for Kenny Scharf?


I have to admit that Lance Armstrong's custom bike paint jobs have always left me somewhat dubious. If I wanted to be cynical, then I could point out how the whole project isn't very far off of Chicago's Cow parade, and all of the imitations that have come since. The one thing that has kept me being a complete cynic has been Armstrong's palpable pleasure in the creations by the chosen artists and designers.

The report from the Sotheby's auction "It's about the bike" has come in, and with some interesting results.

Unsurprisingly, the butterfly adorned bike by YBA (perhaps MABA is more appropriate these days?) Damien Hirst fetched the highest price of $500,000. For all we know, Hirst and an anonymous investor group bought the bike back. It wouldn't be a first. A distant 2nd to Hirst, was the considerably more understated bike by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, which went for $200,000. In third place comes street artist, turned hipster entrepreneur KAWS, who's surprisingly elegant design brought in $160,000.

Perhaps the biggest surprise - to me - was the fact that the Trek Project 1 bike, created when Armstrong announced his comeback from retirement, hauled in $130,000. Unlike the other bikes, this one was created by a group of anonymous designers, as opposed to a group of anonymous designers working for a famous artist and/or designer. Then again, the bike has a good story.

I had expected the fussy and frilly bike done by street artist turned copyright infringer Shepard Fairey, to bring in a bit more than the $110,000. I guess that's what happens when you let yourself get over exposed? Maybe he should have asked Damien Hirst for some suggestions?

The $110,000, that the shiny black bike created by designer Mark Newson, brought in was also slightly lower than I anticipated. especially considering how high his work soared not so long ago. Then again, I haven't followed his market value for a while.

So, a night of surprises. That is, apart from poor old Kenny Scharf. I've never been a big fan of his bubble gum pop art. Too slick, trick, shiny. All gloss, no glory. That said, this time he came up with a reasonably attractive and - for him - understated design. Perahaps too understated, because his creation only managed to bring in a 'meager' $45,000. Poor guy.


Sam said...

Which one would you buy?

CyLowe said...

Was going to point out the Cows on Parade in Chicago was not original, but your link already did... "Chicago's 1999 summer public art display was originally conceived by Beat Seeberger-Quin and presented in Zurich, Switzerland, during the summer of 1998."

And Lance should have had one of those bikes done up in a simple Motorola Merckx red/blue.

His best bike was the Project One with the black on black flames from 2004 (or was it 2005?).