Celebrating Global and Celestial Adventureby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 04:44
A new exhibition at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles celebrating the spirit of adventure, from 1903 to the present day and beyond. Two- and four-wheeled vehicles, both earthbound and on other planets are on display, which celebrate not only the vehicles but the adventurers who rode and drove them.
A Celebration of the Spirit of Adventure
The whole concept of transport-themed exhibitions was altered forever with the opening of the Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1998. By placing the humble motorcycle within the hallowed spiral ramps of the Guggenheim, the curators elevated the motorcycle from a subject of demonisation and social rejection to a position of acceptance and recognition for the cultural and artistic impact it has had on society.
Since then, many exhibitions subjecting transport to scrutiny have come and gone and the latest is one of the most interesting and inventive.
ADV: Overland at the Petersen Museum
‘ADV: Overland’ at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Motorcycle Arts Foundation and Harley-Davidson and curated by Paul D’Orleans of The Vintagent fame, takes adventure and exploration as its theme and presents it in an interesting and imaginative way.
The exhibit, which celebrates the spirit of adventure through off-road and off-world adventure, features 23 adventure-touring motorcycles and race vehicles from 1930 to the present as well as sci-fi and NASA off-world exploration vehicles.
Small But Perfectly Formed
23 exhibits doesn’t sound like much but the individual stories of each of the vehicles more than makes up for it. Covering a time span from the dawn of motorcycling to the present day and onwards into the future, the selection of vehicles charts personal and mechanical achievement and takes a glimpse into the future, both as envisioned in the past and in the present day.
It would be hard to pick out a highlight, so broad is the spectrum and so fascinating all of the exhibits. I had no idea that round-the-world motorcycle trips dated as far back as they did; Carl Stearns Clancy did it on a Henderson Four in 1912. Even further back was the first motorised crossing of the United States by George Wyman on a 1903 California motorcycle which had a top speed of 25mph. It took him 50 days!
From Baja to ’Long Way Up’
D’Orleans takes the spirit of adventure as much as the feats themselves as inspiration. The Baja peninsula is a theme, with both Dave Ekins’ 1964 Honda CL72 Baja Scrambler homage to his first timed run down the peninsula on display as well as the 1969 Ford Bronco ‘Big Oly’ in which Parnelli Jones dominated Baja racing.
Being sponsored by Harley Davidson, there is an example of the latest H-D Pan America adventure bike as well as one of the two Livewire models used by Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor for their ‘Long Way Up’ trip from the tip of South America to California.
Then we get into the realms of sci-fi, with a replica of the 1965 chariot from the ‘Lost in Space’ TV series and a replica of the same thing from the 2018 remake. There’s also a model of the Opportunity MER-1 rover, the robotic vehicle that holds the record for the longest-distance in off-world overlanding.
It’s a refreshing take on a theme and all the better for not concentrating solely on two- or four-wheels.
Curator Paul D’Orleans said, ‘This exciting, first-ever collection of Round-The-World, overland racing, and off-world vehicles is the perfect pandemic escape hatch. Most of these extraordinary machines have never been publicly displayed, and absolutely radiate the spirit of adventure: some even retain their original accessories, 90-years later. These are must-see vehicles on display in the best motoring museum on the planet.’
It’s hard to argue with that.
For more information, please visit www.petersen.org/overland .
More about www.motorcycleartsfoundation.org/
More about Harley-Davidson: https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/motorcycles/adventure-touring
More about www.thevintagent.com/adv-overland-exhibit/
Source: The Petersen Museum