Art Beat: Famous photographer produces biker art at the Buffalo Chip

Published: Aug. 10, 2017 at 8:11 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

The Buffalo Chip is known for camping and concerts, but did you know there is an art gallery there that is only open one week every year?

In this week's Art Beat, we go to the Motorcycles as Art exhibit and see just how talented the 35 and under crowd is when it comes to designing custom bikes.

Michael Lichter is a famous motorcycle photographer who is most known for his 37 years of work with Easy Rider magazine.

He is also an art gallery curator here at Buffalo Chip Motorcycles as Art exhibit.

This show features 58 artists with 37 bikes, 10 helmets and art on the walls.

He would like everyone to see motorcycles like he sees them ... as more than transportation, as art.

Michael Lichter, Curator, Motorcycles as Art Exhibit says "It's great to see bikers come in. I really like it when the bikers come in at night because they're here for a concert and some of them walk in through the entrance and then they go, wow, what's up there, you know. They can't believe what they see and I don't think they necessarily get what I'm doing because this isn't a bike show, it's an exhibition."

The gallery has been at the Buffalo Chip for nine years and was specially built for this one week a year exhibit.

Each year Lichter comes up with a new theme. For 2017 it's Old Iron ... Young Blood.

Every bike in this room was created by a builder age 35 or younger.

Michael Lichter says "If anything this is the generation that's known for their diversity and inclusivity, so you'll see multiple brand platforms being used and multiple stylistic approaches. Some are inspired by speed and racing and others are inspired by vintage bikes, heritage, antiques, things like that."

Lichter refers to the millenial generation as next gen. He says these artists defy the sterotypes of their millenial title.

Lichter says "They wouldn't be here if they fit those stereotypes. They couldn't of finished the bikes. They couldn't of spent the thousands of dollars, on deadline, on time to get them to South Dakota and they did. So I thing it's justifiable they sort of resent the term ."

One of the exhibit builders starting rebuilding bikes as a teenager and after years of volunteering at shops and working his way up from the bottom, he built this custom bike after getting the call from Lichter to be in this show The bike is dedicated to his mother in law, and it is not for sale.

Taco Rodriguez, Custom Bike Builder, says "The night we bought the motor my mother-in-law, she came over. She used to spoil me, she was fantastic. She came over, she was super excited about the build and leaving our house she passed away from a heart aneurysm. So it was kind of tough, so I kind of just kicked the motor aside and just never did anything with it until we got the phone call about four months ago from Michael to build a bike for this."

Lichter is already planning for next year's theme , and that includes asking builders to create the bikes that will tell the narrative.

Lichter says "As a curator, I consider myself curator and producer of the shows, that's what I do, I find the people to fit what I'm looking for to tell the story I'm trying to tell. And the story develops as that year of putting this together goes on."

The exhibit is free at the Buffalo Chip.

Friday is the last day and it's open from 10 a.m .to 10 p.m.

Just come into the east entrance and let them know you are there for the Motorcycles as Art exhibit.