“Imagine motorcycles, unlike any you’ve seen before, arrayed on pedestals and resplendent in their sculptural variety. These are extravagant mechanical confections. Like Fabergé eggs with engines, they are exquisite yet hard-boiled. Forget bikers. Think Haut Moteur. 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”.
With these words, Tom Zimberoff, author of the best-selling books Art Of the Chopper I & II, announces his next high end custom motorcycles exhibition at Kansas City Union Station, from June 24 to July 2, 2011. 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.
Guest curator Tom Zimberoff to add “Haut moteur is to motorcycles as haute couture is to apparel. And a chopper is the epitome of haut motor, a highly conceptualized handmade motorcycle and vehicle of self- expression, balancing the polarized dynamics of flamboyance and minimalism on two wheels. What make choppers cool is getting something wrong just right. Praise the lowered!” 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”
Artists works confirmed to date: Mike Brown, Dave Cook, Jerry Covington, Vince Doll, Christian Dotson, Rick Fairless, Ron Finch, John Franco, Jim Giuffra, Jerry Graves, Gard Hollinger, Rafik Kaissi, Indian Larry, Dave Perewitz, Mike Pugliese , Roland Sands,, Donnie Smith, Trevelen, Alan Lee, Joe Martin, Mondo, Zsolt Müller, and Hank Young. Also expected but not yet confirmed are: Roger Goldammer, Matt Hotch, Billy Lane, Arlen Ness and Cyril Huze.
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.
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.
“Portrait photography,” Zimberoff says, “is a predatory sport. I hunt for big game, look for a good clean shot—trying to avoid unnecessary wounds—and 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 his two best-selling coffee-table books, Art of the Chopper Vols. I and II (Bulfinch Press), as a tribute to his decades-long affinity for custom motorcycles. Zimberoff lives in San Francisco, California.