Cort Percer is a freelance writer and event coordinator. He produced the Bicycle Film Festival Memphis 2009 and 2010 at the Brooks. Percer also works at the Peddler Bicycle Shop on Highland and is involved with the Greater Memphis Greenline, Walk, Bike! Memphis, and Revolutions Bicycle Co-op. Follow his blog at fixmemphis.blogspot.com.
Teeny Tiny Bike Racks
After seeing this article in the Flyer Emily and I made an appointment with the Urban Art Commission to view Gadsby Creson's 40 Bike Rack Maquettes. For those of us who slept through Art School Vocabulary 101 a maquette (even my spellcheck doesn't recognize the word!) is "a small model or study in three dimensions for either a sculptural or an architectural project."
Now that you've learned something today, let's look at a couple of the racks. Gadsby, who rides a bike only occasionally admits that she approached these racks from an artistic perspective. In some cases the art outweighs the functionality; there is no way to actually secure your bike to a rack like this:
The small portion of Memphians (even Americans) who use our bikes for more than recreation need to know our bike is secure. Bike racks can do this and be artistic at the same time. The best bike rack in Memphis is at the Brooks Museum because it incorporates the environment and is very secure. Gadsby does this in her work as well:
An anchor in front of The Cove: kinda kitschy but it works. It worked for David Byrne on Wall Street and New York's fashion district. But you're still limited with the number of bicycles you can attach without going full on bike-pile. Granted, getting people out on bikes is good but two people? Why not ten or twenty? We've seen the amount of people riding the Greenline. They're out there. But in addition to giving them a place to ride we also need to give them a place to park. Gadsby nails it with this one:
Depending on the space between the bars you could potentially fit twelve bikes on that rack. It doesn't imitate its environment but its got form, color, and functionality going for it. It looks pretty rad but maybe that's just my affinity for orange.
To view the rest of the maquettes make an appointment via urbanartcommission.org. The exhibit runs through January 28th. But don't wait until then: on November 19th and 20th as part of the "New Face for an Old Broad" event the UAC will be projecting the maquettes in their gallery space.