Well friends, Tom Zimberoff is at it again and his exhibition, Art of the Chopper is coming to Kansas City. The show is based on his two books, Art of the Chopper I and II, which I might add, are both sitting on my shelf here at the studio. I remember when the first volume came out, I had the opportunity to meet Tom in Sturgis where he was hocking his wares. I believe it was near the Rat’s Hole show at the Full Throttle, but I could be wrong. I am sure he would remember. Not meeting me, of course, but where he was selling his books.
Anyway, if you have not had the opportunity to check out his exhibition, make sure to do it! Not only will you see some beautiful photography of some amazing machines, but many of the bikes will be on display as well. An absolutely amazing sight to behold.
The show is going up at the Union Station and will be on display for just over three months. Check it out. I may even load the ol’ lady and the kiddos into the family van and take them out to see it. Hey, a family needs a destination for a summer trip, right? What could be more educational and enlightening than a trip to a museum!
Congrats Tom, I am sure it is gonna be one hell of a show.
Love, Respect, and Bikes as Art,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2011
Haut Moteur: Art of the Chopper
June 24 through October 2, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 19, 2011 — Imagine motorcycles, unlike any you’ve seen before, arrayed on pedestals and resplendent in their sculptural variety. These extravagant mechanical confections are like Fabergé eggs with engines—exquisite yet hard-boiled. Forget bikers. Think haut moteur.
Haut moteur is to motorcycles as haute couture is to apparel.
Just as a couturier’s gown goes from runway to rack with each new season—an archetype of fashion unveiled, so do over-the-top motorcycles initiate a process of trickle-down style, which eventually wends its way to mainstream machines on the showroom floor.
A chopper is the epitome of haut moteur: a highly conceptualized handmade motorcycle and vehicle of self-expression, balancing the polarized dynamics of flamboyance and minimalism on two wheels. What makes them cool, says guest curator Tom Zimberoff, “is getting something wrong just right..” His discerning eye brings a breath of fresh exhaust to Union Station.
Based on Zimberoff’s best-selling books, Art of the Chopper and Art of the Chopper II, this exhibition of thirty choppers integrates each artist’s portrait with other documentary photographs and their motorcycles on display, thereby offering the public a glimpse into a parallel universe populated by the high priests of horsepower, those lane-splitting libertarians on the road to perdition with a lust for life and a consummate sense of style. Their eccentric machines go a long way toward explaining why ordinary bike builders abound but artists are rare. Only artists go beyond imitation to invention, to subordinate the disparate ingredients of a mainstream motorcycle into a singular vision, while blurring orthodox notions about form and function. Like other idioms of American culture, including jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, the chopper has been embraced and transformed by proponents throughout the world. Praise the lowered!
“Art of the Chopper is absolutely unique,” said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station. “Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle or dreamed of riding one will want to see this collection. We are proud to be able to bring this exhibition to Kansas City. This exhibition is the first of its kind and we expect the community will enjoy this extraordinary experience of motorcycle art.”
Billed as “one of the most amazing motorcycle exhibitions ever presented” during its appearance at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas, Art of the Chopper was the first curated contemporary art exhibition consisting entirely of custom motorcycles.
About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, features a science center, the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round, new planetarium, one of the region’s largest screen movie theaters, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details.
TOM ZIMBEROFF, curator, biographer, and illustrator of Art of the Chopper, is a classically trained clarinetist (USC School of Performing Arts) who began his photographic career covering the rock-music scene. Subsequently, for twenty-six years, he traveled throughout the world on assignment for magazines as a photojournalist with the Sygma Photo Agency and, later, Gamma-Liaison. As an accomplished commercial photographer, too, his work was featured in the annual reports and advertising campaigns of many Fortune 500 companies. His images of celebrities, scholars, artists, scientists, business leaders, and politicians, including two sitting American Presidents, were published regularly worldwide and on the covers of Time, Fortune, Money, and People, as well as other periodicals. Zimberoff is known for his portraiture, with examples in the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum, the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel-Aviv, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, among other institutions. His first two subjects were Marx and Lennon — Groucho and John, that is.
Zimberoff is an authority on the topic of business administration for commercial photography applications, as the author of Photography: Focus on Profit (Allworth Press), the first college textbook about the business side of photography. He has also contributed articles to the leading photo-industry trade journals. Zimberoff wrote and developed PhotoByte®, the leading business-management software application for professional photographers.
Zimberoff was born in Los Angeles in 1951. He was raised there and in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Portrait photography,” he says, “is a predatory sport. I stalk my prey like a big-game hunter, look for a good clean shot, and try to avoid unnecessary wounds. I hang their heads on a wall to admire like trophies.”
After a ten-year-long hiatus from shooting pictures to pursue other business ventures, Zimberoff picked up his cameras once again to illustrate Art of the Chopper as a tribute to his decades-long affinity for custom motorcycles. His home is in San Francisco.