Art and the Open Road

A vintage motorcycle exhibit is coming to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center in September.

You started on a Big Wheel, upgraded to a banana-seater with training wheels and handlebar tassels, and peaked with a Schwinn ten-speed. Now the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s new exhibition, “The Motorcycle, Italian Style: Riding the Curves with MV Augusta,” will make the world whiz by once again in retro vintage style.

Since MV Augusta’s inception in Italy at the end of World War II, its spectacular motorcycles have evolved into luxury objects and status symbols. The Stamford exhibit will feature over 30 vintage motorcycles on display, most from the Classic era (1945-1980), as well as isolated parts of the machines on pedestals for closer examination. “Art can be found not only in the traditional media, the kind that hangs in museums, but in these beautiful machines which are, themselves, art works,” said the museum’s Curator of Collections Rosa Portell.

From 1956 to 1976, MV Augusta won over 3,000 international races and distinguished itself as the most successful brand in the history of the sport. But motorcycles are not strictly 500 pound steel-and-chrome racing machines; according to Portell, “riding a motorcycle is a lot more than a matter of transportation. It’s about image and the experience of the open road.”

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This “edgier” exhibition is going to be an exciting hybrid of transportation and art. Interactive guided tours are available for children; tots two to four years old can ride toy bikes and learn about safety precautions to take when riding two-wheelers.

And for those of you who can’t seem to get enough sun-on-your-face and wind-in-your-hair motorcycle action, the museum’s upcoming events include the “Easy Rider, Italian-Style” festival on September 9th, and a screening of “On Any Sunday,” a documentary on motorcycle racing, on November 28th.  For more information, email, visit, or call (203) 322-1646 x6521.

“The Motorcycle, Italian Style: Riding the Curves with MV Augusta”
September 8, 2007 – January 6, 2008
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Adults $8; Seniors and Students $6; Children (4-17) $4; Under 3, free

Bendel Mansion Museum Galleries
Stamford Museum & Nature Center
39 Scofieldtown Road
Stamford, CT 06903
(203) 322-1646 x6521

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