MILWAUKEE.- Bikes by a Discovery Channel 2004 Biker Build-Off champion roll into downtown for the Milwaukee Art Museum's presentation of The Custom Motorcycles of Ron Finch on view during Harley-Davidson's 105th Anniversary Celebration, August 26–31. Coupled with the archival photographs of Detroit biker Jim "Flash" Miteff, the exhibition celebrates the customized motorcycle as an American icon of 1960s counter-culture and a pinnacle of artistic design. Visitors can park their bikes beneath the wings (details below) to see it during extended hours Thursday–Saturday, August 28–30, when the Museum is open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Good times and good food outside on the Museum grounds round out the weekend.
Installed among the white arches of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Baumgartner Galleria are 12 of Finch's chrome masterpieces. Among the featured choppers are two of Finch's award winners, Odin's Axel and Double Cross, both finely crafted creations of intricate rod work and metal fabrication. Built from rare parts such as Corvette exhaust covers and hand-built frames, each of the bikes bares unique stylistic touches. The 36 photographs by Jim "Flash" Miteff also on view ground the bikes in history, providing a glimpse into the heady American historical moment that gave birth to the chopper. From local bars to the open road, the black-and-white images offer candid shots of the men, women, and motorcycles of The Outlaws MC, a true icon of the 1960s biker revolution in the Midwest.
Ron Finch's newest experiment, METALife, is a collection of creatures and plants made from used metal and motorcycle scraps. Selections from METALife will be available for purchase at the Milwaukee Art Museum Store during the duration of the exhibition, along with photographs from Jim "Flash" Miteff's collection of hand-developed prints. The Store moves outside to sell these and other items to benefit the Museum Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday til 4 p.m.
Ron Finch has been building choppers since 1965, when he opened Finch's Custom Styled Cycles, and has established himself as one of the premier builders of our time. A fusion of function and whimsy, Finch's innovative motorcycles are truly "art in motion." His bikes have been appreciated by art lovers in several museums and art galleries and in shows throughout the United States and Europe.