Get your motor runnin'

A world-exclusive motorcycle exhibition will rev up at GOMA next summer.

A world-exclusive motorcycle exhibition is set to get motors running when it opens at Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in November.

The exhibition, The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire, which runs from 28 November to 26 April 26, 2021, will showcase the most influential, iconic and innovative motorcycles created over the last 150 years.

The Brisbane-only exhibit will feature more than 100 motorcycles from the 1860s to present, including the oldest known motorcycle in existence, the 1868 Michaux-Perraux – a steam-powered velocipede.

GOMA Director Chris Saines said The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire would feature motorcycles drawn from private and public collections across the globe.

“It includes the earliest 19th-century steam-powered motorcycle, right through to electric motorcycles and exciting design propositions for the future,” Mr Saines said.


“Over its 150-year history, the motorcycle has undergone extraordinary reinvention, from steam power to petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines to battery, and from humble backyard creations to custom-made, high-tech chrome speed machines.


 “The Motorcycle is curated by renowned design curators, physicist Professor Charles M. Falco and writer and filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle, in collaboration with GOMA.”

Minister for Science and the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the exhibit bolstered Queensland’s standing as a leading cultural destination.

“Motorcycles have been a mainstay of popular culture for decades and continue to provide endless fascination for millions of people around the world and this one-of-a-kind exhibition will take over the entire ground floor of GOMA from November,” Ms Enoch said.

“This thrilling and immersive installation experience will not be shown anywhere else in the world and promises to captivate local and visiting audiences to Queensland.”

Ms Enoch said the exhibition would delight motorcycle enthusiasts and those curious about design, popular culture and technology.

“The exhibition promises to tap into the appeal of this iconic object of design and art, providing an exclusive insight into the past, present and future,” Ms Enoch said.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a public program, Up Late events and a film program in GOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque.

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The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire highlights include: 

  • The earliest Australian-designed and built machines including a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906.
  • A 1951 Vincent Black Lightning that set an Australian land speed record in its day and more recently a world record for the highest price paid at auction for a motorcycle.
  • Symbols of speed from a 1930s Triumph Speed Twin to a 1970s Ducati 750 Super Sport to the 1990s Britten V1000.
  • Off-road motorcycles highlighting a rich history of bikes built for dust and dirt.
  • Customised motorcycles at the intersection of art and design.
  • Ultra-modern electric motorcycles, demonstrating the future of transportation in the age of renewable energy.