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Bicycle Exhibit at Moore College of Art & Design Shows Different Sides to Bikes


Bicycle: People + ideas in motionAt the Moore College of Art & Design, many talented students create exhibits for the public. One such exhibit was Bicycle: people + ideas in motion, celebrating Philadelphia’s passion and commitment to the bicycle at the Goldie Paley Gallery, which ran from June 19 until October 13. 

Philadelphia has a deep connection to the bicycle. During the Centennial International Exhibition in 1876, Albert Pope, the owner of Pope Manufacturing Company, saw the first modern bicycle ever to be displayed in the United States. He started to import them and later began to build them. Pope's bicycle was the first modern bicycle to be built in the United States. In just a few years, a bicycle was to be had on every street. Now, Philly is a town that is full of people who love their bikes. You can find them on the city streets while people head to work, along the Schuylkill River and Kelly Drive wherever people are enjoying outdoor exercise. 

The exhibit was showing the use of the bicycle as art, as function, to help causes, personal expression and to keep healthy and go green. The bike is part of today’s urban landscape, as much a part of the road as the car. 

There were a variety of bikes on display, including folding bikes (foldies), tour bikes, cargo bikes, commuters and others. The bicycle exhibit also showed a video of biking in the city, various bike parts and how they have changed through history, biking gear and how it has become an industry of it’s own- biking apparel, helmets, gloves, eyewear, backpacks, and biking accessories and how they have evolved- seats, wheels. I also saw various components to a variety of bicycles and the materials they are made of – over the years: metal, plastic, high-carbon steel, chrome and the wheels and tires. It also debuted the prototype for Bike Share Philadelphia by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Since Moore is the nation’s first and only women’s art college, it is the perfect venue to showcase an exhibit that affected women in the 19th century, in their favor. Nineteenth-century suffragists saw it as a "freedom machine" for women and even Susan B. Anthony is quoted for saying that the bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” 

The exhibit also highlighted annual Philadelphia traditions, such as the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship Race, Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby, Bicycle Polo and Urban Cyclocross. Bicycles also play a part in community-based organizations like Neighborhood Bike Works and the Bike Part Art Show and the Pedal Co-op.



Bicycle: people + ideas in motion was curated by Lorie Mertes, Rochelle F. Levy Director and Chief Curator.