News / Arts & Entertainment

New York's Bike Sculptures Promote Urban Art, Cycling

Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro poses for a portrait with two of his bicycle sculptures in New York City, June 30, 2014.
Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro poses for a portrait with two of his bicycle sculptures in New York City, June 30, 2014.
Reuters

An 82-year-old Mexican artist is hoping that 122 bicycle sculptures he has erected around New York City will get people on their bikes, spur an interest in urban art and create greener, healthier cities.

Each steel sculpture by Gilberto Aceves Navarro weighs up to 1,200 pounds (550 kilos), is from six to eight feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) high and features large bicycles with disproportionately smaller cyclists in different poses.

The works installed along a 10-mile (16-km) bike route linking lower Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn and riverside promenades are part of the urban exhibit called "Las Bicicletas" that began on Tuesday and runs to Sept. 30.

"This is the biggest outdoor sculpture series by a single artist ever assembled in New York," Emily Colasacco, the art director of the city's department of transportation, said about the sculptures.

"It's a great opportunity to highlight urban art, our bike infrastructure and waterfront bike lanes," she told Reuters.

Aceves Navarro began drawing bicycles when he was just six years old. His work has been shown in more than 200 exhibits and his murals are featured in Mexico, Japan and the United States. He mounted the first "Las Bicicletas" in 2008 in Mexico City.

"I want people to have contact [with the bicycles] every day and take away a memory of something different, of what, they're not sure exactly," the artist said in an interview. "Seeing something distinct ... that will open the doors of perception and this is important."

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to view the sculptures in New York at sites including the Manhattan Bridge and near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade with its view of the New York skyline that has been captured in Hollywood films.

"We have to create new conditions to use bicycles instead of cars," the artist said. "Cars are harmful and terrible ... with their great noise, fumes and congestion."

The biggest hit of the Mexico City exhibit was the 75-bicycle sculpture set end-to-end in the city's historic Alameda Park. Each day thousands of visitors tapped the sculptures, which gave off a gong sound.

"They loved seeing them, touching them and sounding them many times," he said.

Aceves Navarro said the exhibition encouraged more cycling in the city, along with a local expansion of bike routes and a government campaign to promote cycling in the Mexican capital.

Although the sculptures in the New York show will be different, he hopes they will have the same impact.

"The cyclist will be smaller in dimension and proportion in comparison with the bicycle," he explained. "I want to make the bicycle stand out more as formidable."

The sculpture will also be about four times heavier and 50 percent thicker to meet New York's hurricane-resistant regulations, according to Juan Aceves, the artist's son.

He said the New York exhibit will be followed by another urban art show of bicycles next year in Chicago and in Denmark in 2016.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."