bike sculptures in New York City promote urban art, cycling
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[July 02, 2014] By
NEW YORK 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 begins on
Tuesday and runs to Sept. 30.
"This is the biggest outdoor sculpture series by a single artist
ever assembled in New York," Emily Colassaco, the art director
of the city's department of transportation, said about the
"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 6 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."
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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
"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.
(Editing by Patricia Reaney; editing by Andrew Hay)
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