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Can a bike be considered art?

DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
edited August 2010 in Commuting chat
Bikes are emphatically not art.

Are they not?

Over and above the purpose of design, liking or disliking the look of a bike is subjective. To one person the way a bike looks can be beautiful or ugly.

So I ask, can bikes, the frame, the components, the paintjob be considered seperately or collectively, art?

Can a bike be considered art? 0 votes

Yes
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No
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  • I thought anything can be considered art these days so long as you have the artists statement to back it up.

    Not that I agree with this particularly, it just seems to depend more on the artist than the art itself sometimes.
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  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    I think bikes can be considered art.
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    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • Agent57Agent57 Posts: 2,300
    I've seen some of the utter sh*t in the Tate Modern. If that can be considered art, bikes emphatically can be art.
    MTB commuter / 531c commuter / CR1 Team 2009 / RockHopper Pro Disc / 10 mile PB: 25:52 (Jun 2014)
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    Bikes can be artistic, as can cars, lamposts and phoneboxes. Knives, forks, pens, anything.... It's all in the design.
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • I would expect a really good looking bike to come under the same kind of thing as the original iPod design or something (i.e. to come under the heading of great design rather than art).
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  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    Do pleasing aesthetics automatically equal art?
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    It's not all in the design, it's in the perception. A chimp can put a load of colours on paper and if they come out in a pleasing way that people perceive has artistic value, then that's art. And vice versa.
  • antikytheraantikythera Posts: 326
    edited August 2010
    Of course....

    Depending on your persuasion. the clean precision of immaculately fillet brazed hand carved stainless steel lugs polished to a mirror finish, caressing tubes that have been lovingly prepared and painted to a glass like finish. Delicate pinstripe accents. Gleaming chain set and well proportioned lines of cables accentuation the flow of the frame.

    .... Aaahhh a thing of beauty... 8)
  • Wallace1492Wallace1492 Posts: 3,707
    notsoblue wrote:
    Do pleasing aesthetics automatically equal art?

    Yes.
    "Encyclopaedia is a fetish for very small bicycles"
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,204
    edited August 2010
    I don't think liking the look of something is a test of whether something is art or not. There are plenty of paintings that are really quite disturbing (Picasso's Guernica, Goya's Disasters of War etchings, pretty much anything by Edvard Munch, etc.).

    I think fundamentally, whatever the medium, art should communicate some sort of idea or statement. That idea doesn't have to be obvious - art can be 'difficult' - but there should be some sort of communication there somewhere. On this basis, I would say that even most of the fancy stuff by Ulrich Vogel and co. are more craft than art, but it would be perfectly possible to use a bike as a medium of artistic expression. In the same way that a good portrait isn't just an objective 2D facsimile of someone, but says something about the sitter, a bike made for a particular person could be a two-wheeled representation of that person's personality.

    EDIT: One example might be the Damian Hirst 'Butterfly' frame that Lance Armstrong rode the other year, but I don't know enough about it to comment further.
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  • ch950715.gif
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  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Things can be art intentionally or unintentionally; they can be pretty or ugly, moving or disgusting, pretentious or naive, acclaimed or loathed, populist or niche. Something can become art if just one person declares it to be art.

    I'm looking at a salt sachet. This has been designed. I'd be hard pressed to think of it as "art" while having my lunch, but if someone exhibitied it, argued that the framing,t he colour, the font, were all intended to make an aesthetic statement, then that's good enough for me, it's art.

    DDD in his lycra - is that art? I'd happily accept it could be - it has aesthetic thought behind it. DDD naked? I'm not sure about this. While the human form can be THE most beautiful thing we ever see (I can't comment on DDD specifically), simply being beautiful may not be enough to qualify as art as it was not created.

    But that is facile in itself. A nude is not art, but a simplified, less accurate, less nuanced version of a nude in charcoal on paper is art? How can that be? Must art be always considered a simulacrum rather than a true, definable object?
  • "Art" is such a vague term it's almost impossible to determine what is or isn't a work of art. I have seen the definition used that a work of art can have no other purpose beyond simply being art, which I rather liked.

    So on that basis I'd say no, a bike can't be art. Although you could argue that the paint job is.


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  • feltkuotafeltkuota Posts: 333
    A certain Mr Armstrong rode a number of bikes in last year's TDF which were painted by artists then subsequently sold. So, I guess the answer is yes, bikes can be considered art. Whether you liked the design/paintjob is another matter.
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    Art vs Design.............Design as Art..........Art as Design..............If you manage to come up with a definitive answer here you''re a better man than me Gunga-Din.

    There are without a doubt some bikes that have been built as art and art alone (therefore practicality usually non-existant) but then should we consider riding a beautiful bike beautifully as performance art?

    I'm off for a lie down.
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  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    I'm with rjsterry on this (from DDD's declaration of love thread).

    A bike's primary purpose is not (nor should be) to be a work of art. Elements of bike design and manufacture may be artistic, and bikes could possibly be made into works of art, but bikes (in and of themselves) are not art.

    So that's a "no" from me.
  • Not intended to be art,does not function as art and not made by an artist. So the answer is no. It rather belittles the work of the designer if we choose (because we don't know better) to label a nicely shaped or painted or technically excellent bicycle as 'art'.
    Cannondale Supersix / CAAD9 / Boardman 9.0 / Benotto 3000
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    notsoblue wrote:
    Do pleasing aesthetics automatically equal art?

    Yes.

    Case closed.

    :)
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    biondino wrote:
    But that is facile in itself. A nude is not art, but a simplified, less accurate, less nuanced version of a nude in charcoal on paper is art? How can that be? Must art be always considered a simulacrum rather than a true, definable object?

    So what you're questioning is whether this:

    bike_drawing1.jpg

    Has more reson to be deememd 'art' than this:

    2007_SCOTT_SPARK_20_CARBON_FULL_SUSPENSION_MOUNTAIN_BIKE.jpg

    Chapeau.

    Its a good point
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • glauciaregina9glauciaregina9 Posts: 259
    edited August 2010
    I thought something could only be considered to be Art if it existed for no purpose other than itself? (i.e. it doesn't perform any function other than to be gawked at :) )

    Therefore, a bike is not art.

    A bike can be artistic in design, but this is different to being a piece of art.'
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  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    Is this Art?

    hughes_richard.jpg

    Very emphatically no. What that is is pretentious bullshit masquerading as art - or a shot of my bedsit in the early 90s.....
    FCN 5 belt driven fixie for city bits
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  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,204
    Obviously intended to be. Might not be very good art. It's not communicating very much to me, but it might say something to someone else. Does Richard Hughes offer any explanation? Does it have a title that might provide more illumination?

    I think art can be 'private' in that it has a very small intended audience - lots of 16th and 17th century portraits have symbolic objects included in the background, which only the patron and his close friends would understand. Obviously if it is 'private', there's not much point exhibiting it in public.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
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    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • feltkuota wrote:
    A certain Mr Armstrong rode a number of bikes in last year's TDF which were painted by artists then subsequently sold. So, I guess the answer is yes, bikes can be considered art. Whether you liked the design/paintjob is another matter.

    How adorably innocent - I have some paper and some other paper has been drawn on by artists and then sold so my paper muts be art
    Cannondale Supersix / CAAD9 / Boardman 9.0 / Benotto 3000
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    I think the notion that something is only art if it has been created only for the purpose of being art utter pretentious nonesense to give 'art' more exclusivity than it should.

    The question again would be, what is art for something to be art?

    "Art is something that is gawked at by some" is not a good enough answer.

    In my mind anything can be art, over and above the purpose of the object. No one is able to answer why the human mind naturally forms shapes out of shapeless forms. Our minds naturally try to find shapes, patterns and forms images (look up at the clouds and wonder why it suddenly looks like something you recognise). I don't think art is or should be intentional, it is open to interpretation. Therefore we shouldn't dictate what is and what isn't art.

    If my mind can look at wall and suddenly make a pattern out of the cracks or lines in the paintwork, then In my mind anything can be art if.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • Is this Art?

    Is it in a gallery?
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  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 18,204
    feltkuota wrote:
    A certain Mr Armstrong rode a number of bikes in last year's TDF which were painted by artists then subsequently sold. So, I guess the answer is yes, bikes can be considered art. Whether you liked the design/paintjob is another matter.

    How adorably innocent - I have some paper and some other paper has been drawn on by artists and then sold so my paper muts be art

    D'you think, possibly he meant some bikes, rather than all bikes.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • If only the late, great Tony Hart was still alive.

    He could clear up this arguement once and for all.
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  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I thought something could only be considered to be Art if it existed for no purpose other than itself? (i.e. it doesn't perform any function other than to be gawked at :) )

    Therefore, a bike is not art.

    A BSO fits the bill, though.
  • Is this Art?

    Is it in a gallery?

    Yep.
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