Joy Ride Exhibition 18 - 21 October 2007, Maverik Gallery
18.10.07 by Buffalo Bill
Joy Ride opened last night. It is the partner to the London edition of the Bicycle Film Festival. The opening was fun, although if you got there after 7pm, you would not have seen much of the art.
I got there shortly after 6, and went back again today, so I had a good look at all of it. I also was lucky enough to chat to some of the artists showing.
First of all, let me say that I enjoyed the opening (apart from the drinks – spritzers made of wine from ‘Thailand’s unique floating vineyards’?), and the show itself. I very much liked the pop-art of the ‘Long Bike’ and the ‘Koga Miyata Full Aero-Pro Extended Version’ by Benedict Radcliffe. I could bullshit about the ‘subversion of popular icons’, but the truth is that both the pieces are simply very funny, and nice to look at.
I also enjoyed the more conceptual, fine art of Nik Ramage’s ‘Three Films’ – again very funny, and utterly pointless.
Elsewhere in the space, it was a pleasure to see big prints of photos by London photographers that I admire: Selim, and Ray Lewis (aka fleabilly). I recommend a trip to Maverik simply to see those two. It was also nice to see Roxy Erickson’s photos of American Mike after his head-on encounter with a parked double-decker bus. Roxy’s message is ‘bikes can break anybody, even the best riders’. I can only say amen to that.
I also liked Cheryl Dunn’s ‘Zak’s Hat’. A cool picture, as were Paul Calver’s photos of London’s Calling.
On the downside, I felt that there was far too many works in the space. In particular, I felt that some of the work had been included for sentimental reasons, and veered towards scrap-book. It may be that because I have seen so many photos of bicycle messengers, I have a particulary low tolerance for them, but was it really necessary to feature so much work featuring NYC bicycle messengers? And I have to say that if I see any more stuff glorifying the track bike, I will probably spew.
Maybe it’s time for Moving Target to print up some ‘Track Bikes Are For C***s’ t-shirts and stickers. Although ‘Bill is a W&nker’ shirts, with ‘And his blog’s sh*t, too’ on the back would probably be vastly more popular.
Back to the show – I think that some, if not most, of the photography fell into the ‘documentary’ category, as opposed to the ‘art’ category. I was talking to various people during the evening on this topic, and from what I, without formal art education, gleaned from others more knowledgeable than me, art happens when the piece stops being about the subject and starts being the content. I am not totally sure I understand that, but there you are.
Overall, the consensus amongst those whose opinions I canvassed (not necessarily a representative sample) thought that the show could have been improved by a more selective curatorial eye, and perhaps I am biased, but the London artists’ work seemed to be head and shoulders above most of the rest of exhibits, precisely because the pieces selected were artful.
But overall, I would say that anyone would find this exhibition stimulating, and it’s a shame that the doors will only be open until 6pm on Sunday. Check it out while you can!