de Saisset Museum

South Bay's free museum of art and history

Chain Reaction: Artists Consider the Bicycle

April 13 - July 1, 2012


Since their invention in the 1860s, bicycles have become an increasingly visible part of American culture. Today, we utilize them for convenience, sport, sustainable transportation, and a variety of other reasons. This is especially true in environmentally-conscious states like California, where bike lanes are ever-present and off-road trails are utilized for both hiking and biking. Given their wide popularity, it is not surprising to find that many artists are turning to the bicycle as compelling subject matter. Whether they are cycling enthusiasts, intrigued by the design of two-wheelers, or inspired by the image itself, artists continue to find creative ways to re-imagine the form and function of the bicycle. Through photographs, drawings, painting, and sculpture, the artists in this exhibition place a new spin on the subject. They explore the bicycle from every angle imaginable, isolating abstract forms, breaking the subject into component parts, calling attention to the beauty of everyday experience, or using the bicycle as a form of social and cultural commentary. Through the works on display, these artists highlight the creativity, beauty, fascination, and humor behind this cultural phenomenon.

Image: Catherine Mackey, OS 29er No. 1, 2010, oil and acrylic on mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 24 in., Collection of John Goggin. Terry Thompson, Bicycle Sign, 2007, chromogenic print, 36 x 24 in., Courtesy of the artist and ArtZone 461 Gallery, San Francisco.


SCU Student Art Reviews

In spring 2012, students enrolled in Prof. Robin Tremblay-McGaw's English class were asked to write reviews of the de Saisset's current exhibitions. Essays by McKenzie Darr, Jessica Sullivan, and Andrew Weaver were selected to be uploaded to our website.

Read the reviews.