Friday, July 24, 2009

Note to self: dead animals do not belong in my sporting equipment

Not even for charity.

I can't believe I am mentioning Damien Hirst in this blog again, but I can't ignore the cross-over hilariousness of this newest crime against artistic dignity. Why does he persist in doing such ridiculous things?? Well, at least this time he has a partner in ridiculousness- none other than Lance Armstrong. And for a bonus layer of self-aggrandizing mutual fellatio perpetrated by charity-minded celebrities, creation of the bike was requested by Bono. LOL.

The bike above was a creation that Hirst('s assistants) decorated with hundreds of dismembered dead butterflies. Armstrong is set to ride the HirstyBike down the Champs in 2009 Tour de France finale. Sigh.

The really funny thing is that Armstrong has apparently been doing this for years! Usually with artists of a very particular ilk: the immensely rich, carefully-constructed and marketed "bad boys" and enfant terribles of the contemporary art world. This year steps up the mutual-admiration society due to STAGES, a charity "global art exhibition" put on by Armstrong, Nike and the aforementioned enfant terribles. He's riding like 6 art bikes this year! Why is everything ostentatious, egomaniacal or self-serving this man does associated with cancer charity? It makes him much harder to mock. And yet, I persevere...

The media-circusy nature of the two principals involved in this endeavor was today compounded by the near-hysterical reaction of the professionally histrionic, PETA. Reps from the animal rights org further inflated Hirst's sense of relevance by lambasting him in the DDaily Mail. Of course, they cannot attack CancerSurvivorAthleteCharityMan (for those outside the world of bike racing, its like attacked God), so we are treated to rhetorical gems like this one:

"Lance Armstrong is all about life - about not dying and about overcoming adversity.

'Damien Hirst is a one-trick pony who ruins the very essence of this man's spirit by associating him with dead butterflies.

I also particularly enjoyed this poetic number:

'Butterflies are beautiful creatures who should be enjoyed in the wild, not encased in a bike.'

"Encased in a bike." Priceless.

Below are some images of Lance's past patronage of the arts.

Artist: legally-embattled possible plagiarist Shep Fairey, ridden (and crashed on?) 2009 Giro d'Italia

Artist: Shep Fairey again, ridden 2009 TdF

Artist: 80s pop artist Kenny Scharf, ridden 2009 Giro d'Italia TT

Arist: bizarrely psuedonymned KAWS, darling of the "global art toy-collecting community," ridden 2009 Milan San Remo

Artist: Marc Newson, designer of furniture for the insanely wealthy, ridden 2009 TdF prologue TT

Artist: Graffiti artist Barry McGee, ostensibly ridden 2009 Tour of California. Since its a fucking hybrid bike, I don't know what part of that race he would have used it for. Maybe he rode it from the Astana bus to the sign-in tent.

Lastly, and my personal favorite:

Artist: Yoshitomo Nara, ridden yesterday in the 2009 Tdf TT.

I don't have anything snide to say about this one. I like Yoshitomo Nara's work, and when I met him while interning at the Philly ICA, he seemed like a really nice guy. I wish he would design a bike for me. I'll donate it to charity after I beat it to hell, I swear.


  1. Wow, so hard on Lance! I'm old - and appreciate the immense mental strength it must take to push himself against youth. I feel inspired: "I'm not dead yet" and I can do a lot more than I thought.

    As far as butterflies, sorry, I've killed a lot more on my car's grill than are pasted on Lance's bike. And that bike will let those butterflies live on in many minds, instead of dying a few days after their emergence, in anonymity.

  2. I'm not being hard on him! Being a great bike racers does not preclude him being an arrogant ass. I like having Lance back in the race- he's entertaining and, yes, inspiring. And I love how he utterly eschews BS when he does post-stage interviews. But I still think there is a big element of self-involved ridiculous in most of the things he does & says.

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