Biker art

Later this month in Milan, The Warhol Museum will show a collection of contemporary artists’ new take on pop culture, as expressed through the iconic motorcycle jacket, beloved by the Rockers of the 1960s.

The project, curated by Glenn O’Brien, explores the idea of one-of-a-kind artworks that you can wear. Benetton’s Italian fashion brand Sisley invited 17 leading contemporary artists – including friends of Warhol’s ‘Factory’ – to customise 18 motorcycle jackets.

Glenn O’Brien
Glenn O’Brien

The gala exhibition will launch on 22 September coinciding with Milan’s Fashion Week in celebration of the museum’s 15th anniversary, before the jackets are auctioned off at Christie’s in New York on 8 November.

While customised motorcycle jackets are nothing new and have been a feature of pop culture from the Swinging Sixties till present – the exhibition is fitting for the celebrated artist, being a famous motorcycle jacket wearer and collector.

Ronnie Cutrone, a key Warhol assistant, tagged his leather jacket using his trademark Krazy Kat image up against the red and while stripes of the United States flag.
Ronnie Cutrone, a key Warhol assistant, tagged his leather jacket using his trademark Krazy Kat image up against the red and white stripes of the United States flag.

Among Warhol’s circle of young artist friends was Kenny Scharf, a ‘new- kind’ of pop- artist according to his peers. His jacket for the exhibition is decorated in what appears to be mad molecules.
Among Warhol’s circle of young artist friends was Kenny Scharf, a ‘new- kind’ of pop- artist according to his peers. His jacket for the exhibition is decorated in what appears to be mad molecules.

Musician Walter Steding worked as Warhol’s painting assistant  and had his music career managed by the artist, contributes an all seeing eye in a Masonic pyramid.
Musician Walter Steding worked as Warhol’s painting assistant  and had his music career managed by the artist. He contributes an all seeing eye in a Masonic pyramid.

Parisian artist Jean-Phillippe Delhomme’s  jacket is a Warhol portrait and oddly a Brillo box.
Parisian artist Jean-Phillippe Delhomme’s  jacket is a Warhol portrait and oddly a Brillo box.

While most of us will miss out on purchasing the limited leather canvas’, in which proceeds will be contributed to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Why not try customising one yourself?

As O’Brien says, ‘Anybody can paint on a canvas, but a painted motorcycle jacket brings to life the idea of Oscar Wilde “Be a work of art or wear one”.

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  • Mik November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I wouldn’t ride my bike wearing a wimpy jacket like that! Its a fashonista’s idea of a biker jacket not a REAL one.

    If you ride bikes all the time you’ll know what I mean.

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