Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From the BSNYC Culture Desk: "It's About the Bike" Auction

While I usually commute by bicycle, once in awhile I will use New York City's public transit system instead. Generally, it takes a pretty severe confluence of circumstances to get me to do this, since when it comes to transportation I'm a bit of a control freak and get very, very impatient when subject to delays which are beyond my control. While rain or foul weather by itself is usually insufficient to force me into the time-sucking grip of the MTA, it does occasionally play a role in my decision-making, and if other factors are involved as well then the addition of water can sometimes drive me underground. Today was one of those days.

While riding the subway does provide me with the opportunity to catch up on my subway advertisements, it also deprives me of seeing New York City's street life unfold before my eyes. However, today's ride did at least provide one photo opportunity in the form of this decidedly non-Motörheady looking person engrossed in a "Rolling Stone" article about Lemmy Kilmister:


As an unabashed Lemmy fan, the article caught my eye halfway across the train car. Unfortunately, the reader did not seem pleased to encounter a kindred spirit. Instead, he seemed rather nonplussed:

Anyway, since it was raining and I was depressed from the surprisingly potent combination of being underground and being scowled at, I decided to buoy my spirits by taking in some art. Ordinarily to see art I'd go to a museum, but the problem with museums is that if you see something you like you can't buy it; instead, you have to go to a gift shop and buy a facsimile of it, or else download it from the Internet and use it as wallpaper. No, now that I'm flush with cash thanks to Heywood Jablome's cousin, I figured I'd go to Sotheby's, the august auction house, since they're currently exhibiting all those arty Lance Armstrong bikes from this past season, which are going to be sold off at private auction this coming Sunday to benefit LiveStrong. This is highly tempting to me, since not only was I interested in seeing and possibly buying some art, but I've got a gaping pop art-adorned time trial bike hole in my "stable" of bicycles that can only be filled by a Lance Armstrong theme bike. So in I went.

The first bike I saw was the one which was stolen and subsequently recovered during the Tour of California, on display in the lobby:

While it's got an intriguing backstory, it's also lacking in artistic pedigree, since it was designed by Trek. As any connoisseur knows, in the art world a Trek original ranks somewhere between a velvet painting and a doorstop shaped like a dog. This could be why Sotheby's put it this one by the front door instead of safely upstairs with the rest of the bikes. (Incidentally, there are no doormen at Sotheby's. Instead, they use dog-shaped doorstops.)

Things were different upstairs though, where upon exiting the elevator I was greeted with a dazzling assembly of bikes rendered by a "who's who" of artists as well as a friendly and helpful publicist who, foolishly, let me in. (By the way, when I say "who's who" of artists I meant that literally, since I don't know anything about contemporary artists.) There was the bike by KAWS which Armstrong was riding when he broke his collarbone in the Vuelta Castilla y León:


The Yoshitomo Nara Rolling Death Machine, complete with morbid gothic imagery:

(As well as this top tube-mounted quote, which I believe is from Machiavelli:)


This yellow-on-black time trial bike, which is similar to the Tour of California bike, only by someone more "collectible:"


The "Scharfenator," by Kenny Scharf:


This bike by Shepard Fairey (creator of that controversial "Hope" poster) which I believe is called, "Hope I don't get in trouble for this one too:"


And of course the Damien Hirst Dead Butterfly Freakout, complete with real dead butterflies:

After giving the room the once-over, I headed over to the breakfast table, where there were, among other offerings, bagels. Just as people in California spin "epic" yarns about burritos, people in New York from the five boroughs to the Five Towns rhapsodize about bagels. Sadly, the bagels at Sotheby's were far from "epic" (unless by "epic" you mean "rubbery") though I did attempt to express myself artistically through my cream cheese application:


I also tried to feed it to one of Lance Armstrong's time trial bikes:

The bike, however, must have known from good bagels, since it refused to so much as taste this one. As such, I was forced to consume it myself. Once I was finished, though, I started feeling acutely aware of the fact that I was basically just a schnorrer taking advantage of both Sotheby's and LiveStrong for free food and shelter from the rain. So I figured I'd better pretend to work--at least until the rain stopped. And I figured a good way to pretend I was working was to take pictures of the bikes. Here's one of the bone-breaker's seatpost:


Here's another one of the Rolling Death Machine:


At this point, I started contemplating just how poor a photographer I am. I also started to notice that every time I took a picture there was also a "real" photographer directly opposite me. It was then that I had a revelation. Like George Constanza, I realized the fact that I was always opposite an actual photographer clearly meant that every single photographic impulse I have is wrong. Therefore, if I followed the photographer around instead and photographed exactly what he did, my photos would be good. So that's what I did:

(The oversized bottom bracket...is artsy.)

Unfortunately it didn't seem to help.

Since I wasn't getting anywhere with my poor photography skills, I realized I was going to have to rely on my people skills (which, if you can believe it, are even worse) as well as my journalistic skills (which don't exist, because I'm not a journalist). And since this was an actual "Press Preview," some of the key people were there to talk to the "press." Here's curator (in the more traditional sense of the word) Jamie O'Shea on the right, and artist Kenny Scharf on the left:

My journalistic nose told me that beneath all the art bikes and the bagels and the charity fundraising and the ponytails there was a sordid story somewhere, and I was determined to ferret it out by getting somebody to say something bad about somebody else. I asked Kenny Scharf if he had dealt with Lance Armstrong at all in producing his bike, and if so whether Armstrong had behaved deplorably in any way. Scharf insisted he hadn't--which of course was tremendously disappointing to me as a fake journalist. Scharf then explained to me how Trek had applied the graphics to the bike, so I figured maybe Trek had screwed up somehow and that there was a story in that. As it happened, there was one thing Scharf was displeased with, which was the decals on the wheels:

Specifically, the edge was visible and did not blend into the black background:

Scharf then said he could fix the wheel with a Sharpie. At last, a project! However, I didn't have my trusty Super Staunion, and nobody else seemed to have a Sharpie either. In fact, I was halfway out the door to Duane-Reade when Scharf finally found one and got to work:

It did make the wheel look much better:

(The wheel regains its artistic integrity.)

In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am directly responsible for increasing the value of this art bike since not only does it look better but it's also hand-drawn (albeit only partially, and with a Sharpie). I like to think I'm also responsible for sending an artist into a compulsive fit, because he continued to work for quite some time:


I'm glad I didn't say anything about the frayed rear derailleur cable on the Hirst bike:

If you do end up bidding on that one, you might want to factor a new rear derailleur cable into your costs.

At any rate, having caused enough trouble, I decided it was time to head back into the rain--though I did stop long enough to copy another shot from the "real" photographer:

I stopped short of attempting to steal the bike, though. That door stop looked dangerous.

99 comments:

landis in 06 said...

werd

Anonymous said...

taste the pink steel bitches- first looser!

grog said...

grog is agog

landis in 06 said...

just got transferred to Rock Racing back in the saddle

nogocyclist said...

hello

Anonymous said...

Pack Finish

Dog Shot said...

Top 10!

samh said...

Close to the podium. Best go read it now.

Anonymous said...

207!

ant1 said...

ant1st!

rezado said...

Lox

hillbilly said...

where is kale - still shoaling?

Anonymous said...

Cream Cheese

Astroluc said...

fourteenth?~~??!

kale said...

I would have been top 10 if Ant1 would have held his line!

ant1 said...

snobby,

"The bike, however, must have known from good bagels, since it refused to so much as taste this one"

must have known from?

hillbilly said...

I don't think that guy was nonplussed, he was either undercover or just out of it, hence the Met's cap and odd choice of reading material. He was actually quite plussed.

hillbilly said...

ant1 - it's a new york ism - perhaps ethnic, I wouldn't want to make that call, not being of that um, er, ethnicity.

hillbilly said...

Slang Dictionary
know from (sth)

in.
to know about something. (Colloquial. Northeast U.S. See also not know from nothing.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with hillbilly, that guy was just trying to look nonplussed.

I think snobby is being tailed.

Fierce Panties said...

fingerbang!

ant1 said...

sorry kale. you should have shoaled my ass at that last red light.

ant1 said...

thanks hillbilly. i stand corrected. or snobby stands uncorrected.

Anonymous said...

I don't know from New York talk, but I've heard that one as far north as the berring straight and as far west as the sunset

Dominic said...

What catastrophe, in addition to the rain, kept you off the bike? A flat?

Anonymous said...

It is an axiom that no hobby should sither seek or need rational justification. To wish to do so is reason enough. To find reasons why it is useful or beneficial converts it at once from an avocation into an industry - lowers it at once to the ignominious category of an 'excercise' undertaken for health, power, or profit. Lifting dumbells is not a hobby. It is a confession of subservience, not an assertion of liberty.

~Aldo Leopold

Anonymous said...

That looked like a little bit of dookie on your poorly-groomed thumbnail, Mr. Snob.

Fierce Panties said...

"Getting shoaled" somehow doesn't capture the indignation of when it happens.

Shoal-fucked?

Anonymous said...

I also tried to feed it to one of Lance Armstrong's time trial bike:

bikes

I want a bagel now.

youaretheengine said...

You made art better. You better get paid.

COMI SION

Anonymous said...

It's just a fantasy / Can't you see / What this crazy life is doing to me / Life is just a fantasy / Can you live this fantasy life . . .

~Aldo Nova

Anonymous said...

are the real dead butterflies used to determined travel speeds?

Isolation Helmet said...

Hey Snob-

Now that Heywood's cousin has come through with the funds, rather than wasting them on some time trial bike, that I can assure you is not bombproof, I have an exclusive on a bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan over the big stinky you might be interested in?

yogisurf said...

Where’s the Y-Foil Lance rode in the Tour de California? It was adorned with epic burritos curated by Ralph Rubio. I saw Lance pull a burrito out of the frame at the top of Mt. Palomar. Was that stage on a Wedesday?

red neckerson, zen master said...

ricky lit a fart
he ate way too many beans
now he's a goner

Disgruntl Ed. said...

Just a bit of fact-checking.

You refer to "the bike by KAWS which Armstrong was riding when he broke his collarbone," but Lance in his press release refers to it as the "KAWS 'Chompers' cycle that I broke my collarbone on in the Vuelta Castilla y León."
The distinction is important, and should justify a significantly higher price for the injurious bike.

Anonymous said...

tom - where are you today?

Luke said...

Anyone catch this gem?

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/1438929892.html

"#@%*TARD who KICKED a GIRL today on the manhattan bridge!!! (East Village)"

hillbilly said...

I did see that, Luke, I have nothing intelligent to say about it, but I love the use OF CAPS and the line "I totally don't get"

kale said...

Luke-

Well, maybe that was the 'emergency' that Snob was referring to.

Jason said...

nice job on sending the artist into a "compulsive fit"

Anonymous said...

KILM ISTR

wishiwasmerckx said...

Is Heywood still dating Anita Dick?

Evil Lone Wolf said...

KICK GRLZ

g said...

wishiwasmerckx,
Last I heard, he was with Amanda Hugankiss. No truth to the rumor he's gay, though.

wishiwasmerckx said...

G, oh, really? I had heard that Amanda was still seeing Emerson Bigguns.

Rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

Anonymous said...

no no, it was Harriet Wat

g said...

Actually, he has more in common with his cousin Drew P. Wiener than she cares to talk about. Sad really.

Mad Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jolene said...

ther once was a lady from viper
who had got vd from a biker
he left in a hurry
as she itched at her furry
and called red to git home in a hurry

Anonymous said...

I...
I just took a ride
In my silver machine
And I'm still feeling meaaaaaan!

Bad Lawyer said...

Today's excellent field trip/post reminded me of the NYT op-ed from a week or more, back: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/opinion/16dutton.html?_r=1

BTW, Lance if you're reading the Snob commentariat, next year I want to see an R. Crumb--maybe Exodus-themed?

frilly said...

Goodness. For a second there, I thought she might be describing Leroy. But then I remembered he rides a Specialized & nobody would dare to defile their Specialized. Right?

Besides that, he's much too kind for that sort of nonsense. And I would sincerely hope he does not have stringy hair. Or smokes, cigarettes anyway.

wishiwasmerckx said...

In a photo in today's post, Fatty is wearing his BSNYC "Seal" t-shirt. Get your jealous on.

Anonymous said...

That craigslist post was infused WITH SOME REALLY great use of of the caps lock in SEEMING RANDOMLY CHOSEN spots. Maybe snob'll give us his take ON IT tomorrow.

Benjamin Callaway said...

What was Stephen Baldwin doing talking to Kenny Scharf?

Anonymous said...

Scrodium - hanging low in the rankings.

CommieCanuck said...

How much of the Sotheby's auction went to Livestrong? all of it, or a "portion"?
FRS donates $0.10 for every $58.00 case of that fake shite.
To make a difference in cancer research, you have to give until you barely notice.

Anonymous said...

not only are the buritos epic out here?... but the bagels are the best?

Anonymous said...

I guess it IS about the bike. I know this is for a good cause, but as the the Hincapie Portrait helps illustrate, Cyclists are best at riding the bike and leaving the artistic decisions to others. Sorry that in this case, these useful tools, the bikes, were decorated by "Artists" (whose claim to fame rests more on self promotion and hype than actual physical artistic ability). This would have been so much better if the bike designs were created by professional graphic designer and not "Fine-Artists". The drawback is the fact that the auction values would be so much less.

urchin said...

I can't wait until we start seeing the Lance art bikes out on the road, Lone Wolf style. Might take a few years, or further economic downturn, though.

Fine post as always, and all in all the photography is improving (e.g. there's something in focus in almost all of them).

NPJ

Kapitan said...

Yeah, you call it, CommieCanuck. Livestrong is at best a borderline charity, at worst a cash cow for Yellow Monny and his compatriots. I wouldn't be found dead under a right-turning dump truck while wearing that bleeding bracelet.

chewbacca said...

snob,
today at the corner of Carmine and Bleecker i noticed the the line that they painted for bike lanes was eroding in the rain. wtf?

Anonymous said...

BUKK AKE!

Bad Lawyer said...

Poppy seed? The bagel, poppy seed?

Salty Seattle said...

Shoal-fucked! Awesome FP! I love it!

Execellent post, Snobbie! This one rivals the margarita-cam. Was it the bagel-cam, or were you under the influence of the famous, New-York-Subway-fumes huff?

Salty Seattle said...

Chewbacca-

I'm guessing that SDOT sold the city of New York the Northwest's experiment in environmentally-friendly street paint.

Yes, that means it is biodegradable.

In exchange, can you guys send us some decent bagels?

Reed Enwright said...

DADA BIKE

Mr. Excitement said...

I have a door stop shaped like a brick. Yep, things are pretty boring around here.

LK said...

You took the fucking subway? Even my wife rode in the rain with me.

You must be a "biker."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I only purchase frames palping Suessian characters and colorways. Trek is to Southeby's as Seven is to Christie's.

Marshall said...

Of course the SRAM derailleur cable was frayed! Show me a pinch bolt that doesn't eat the cable and I'll show you the Shimano derailleur it's attached to.

PCLA said...

Finally, an actual "curator" in BSNYC!

Anonymous said...

The Rolling Death Machine graphics on the disc wheel are actally not-so cleverly disguised butt plugs. Thus, Lance and the future owner has extra incentive to ride fast so no one can tell they're butt plugs.

Andy Pandy said...

Did Southeby's have any of those beudi-ful yellow livestrong limited edition batshit encrusted bracelets for sale as mine just broke and i cannot go to the gym until I get a new one.

Hi Frills, how they hangin

7sp said...

The "real" photographer is consistently shooting from the non-drive side, which is probably why you end up on the opposite (correct) side.

acquiesce808 said...

so, basically, you got invited to this media event, it was too yucky out to ride the extra distance, but really wanted to go anyway... not a bad invite for a "non-journo." also, your photos are much better than anything leonard zinn ever took. even though 35 pounds ten is tempting, i'm waiting for the 2010 doggie door stop model to drop. they've made some major changes to the mold & are now using an even higher grade of resin.

leroy said...

I had to take the subway yesterday and wait for three trains before there was one with room.

At least when I take my bike to get to work, I know I'll get a seat.

Today calls for only light steady rain in the morning, and upon asking myself WWJ(H)D (What would Jill Homer Do), I have to ride.

But is it just me or does the Damien Hirst butterfly bike remind anyone else of the movie poster for Silence of the Lambs?

And frankly, if Sotheby's wants to get top dollar for those bikes, would it kill them to throw in pedals and a kickstand? Some bar end streamers might be nice.

leroy said...

Frilly -- that was definitely not me! Besides, I don't smoke.

Bad Lawyer -- an R. Crumb bike? Brilliant!

Stupid Name said...

Why is there a condom painted on the scharf bike front wheel?
Is lance collabo with TR$K to make condoms?
I fear for rich art buyers, and cyclists everywhere.

richard irvine said...

It's not exactly packed out, does the recession mean people no longer want to spend thousands on painted bikes for charity?

And my bike's covered in dead flies, does that mean it might be worth something to a rich person or are butterflies different?

Narwhal said...

Snob,

I see this nonplussed Lemmy reader on the train from time to time. You can't tell in the photo but that button on his lapel reads "ATHIEST" and he ALWAYS wears it. He's often seen with headphones on UNDER the Mets cap. Repeat: headphones UNDER the Mets cap.

frilly said...

Andy Pandy said...Hi Frills, how they hangin

Pretty full actually. I gained ten pounds when I hurt my heel. And the girls are always one of the first places I show weight.

Anonymous said...

I love it...once again you made me laugh out loud!

ant1 said...

frilly - thanks for the visual!

russell said...

"As an unabashed Lemmy fan, the article caught my eye halfway across the train car."

Dangling gerund. Come on Bicycling magazine columnist.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Russell,

What the hell is a "gerund?"

--BSNYC

Anonymous said...

@BSNYC: what a curator have you become...never mind the stickers...first thing that springs to my eye is the "wrong" brake pad.

BarryHall said...

First ever post, Friend Snob.

Thought to point out this interesting section from page nine of the "Livestrong" Sotheby's catalog:
“. . . Shepard commemorated the cyclist’s extreme dedication to the cancer mission by creating a customized Trek Madone in the now-iconic yellow and black LIVESTRONG
colorway.”

The wrong-est word they used, Snob-stealing-wise, was "creating," which should have been "curating," I figure.

Also, the above-comment about "gerund" refers to what I just used above—where one uses a verb as a noun by adding -ing: "create" becomes the gerund "creating," etc.

Thus, the apparent correction about your "dangling gerund" may well not refer to your writing so much as something in your pants? Just guessing.

Perhaps a top-tube protector is in order. Damned gerunds.

Mister Yabbie Pants said...

I thought Gerund was a Canadian bike brand.

Klaus Mohn said...

"Dangling gerund" seems to be another way of decrying a solecism. A front-loaded "as an unabashed Lemmy fan" is expected to qualify the subject in the following sentence, but ends up not qualifying anything, since it's improbable that "this article" is an unabashed Lemmy fan. In terms of meaning, it qualifies "my", but the UCI ruled against that.
Maybe I'm making a fool out of myself explaining this in my weak English to someone who "keep an employmentway in the publishing industry", but I'd like to take the opportunity to propose that "dangling gerund" be replaced by "solécisme". Like "domestique", "bidon" and even the misspelled "pannier", the gallicised version is hella classier.

Anonymous said...

So Bike Snob is hanging out with Lance Armstrong in NYC, according to Lance:

http://twitpic.com/niygb

Anonymous said...

Check out BikeSnob.com for all your cycling clothing, that is were the real BikeSnob is. That guy started BikeSnob years before this guy.

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