If Miami motorists need a reminder now and then that cyclists are people, too — witness the spate of recent hit-and-runs in the news — then a new art-bike exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum provides a timely and engaging one.
It might even make them smile.
The third show organized for the museum by ARTCycle, a local group that promotes cycling and bike-safety awareness, features 32 bike-related works of sculpture, video animation, photography, painting and mixed media loosely linked by the theme of “cyclists matter.”
They range from the whimsical — Marcel by Benjamin Saint Maxent and Adrien Blanc Guillon consists of a mounted goat’s head wearing a cycling jersey from an expired European pro team, for instance — to the poetic. For her untitled sculpture, Anabel Peicher enveloped a beach cruiser in big white metallic blooms that cascade from the ceiling, perhaps a hopeful counterpoint to the white “ghost bikes” installed in places like the Rickenbacker Causeway to commemorate cyclists killed by cars.
What uniformly comes across to the viewer is the child-like joy many people experience on a bike.
“It’s a very happy exhibit, I must say,” said Gables Museum director Christine Rupp. “I’ve heard several people walk in and say, ‘Wow this makes me want to get on a bike.’ And that’s the whole idea.”
The museum, which focuses on urban design, architecture and planning in Coral Gables and across South Florida, has carved out a unique niche that mixes art and exhibits on civic and environmental issues with advocacy for sustainability and cogent planning.
The message here, the museum says: that bicycles should be embraced as a key contributor to the urban environment. Interspersed through the artworks are boards with pointers on bike safety and road-sharing, and, in one corner, a TV playing a handlebar-view video taken on rides along several Miami-Dade bikeways.
A companion exhibition focuses on the Underline, a grass-roots proposal to turn the worn M-Path under the Metrorail tracks from Dadeland to downtown into a 10-mile bikeway and linear park. Design boards, maps and sketches developed during a University of Miami student project and a public workshop with Dutch cycling experts delineate the possibilities for the project, which has the backing of Miami-Dade County’s parks and transit departments.
The Underline: Make it Yours also includes another point-of-view, sped-up video that vividly highlights the perils, and attractions, of riding the full length of the M-Path as it is now, with stretches of greenery and calm interrupted by hard-to-navigate blind corners and hazardous street crossings.
The museum has organized a busy schedule of bike-related activities to get people riding through the May 24 conclusion of the exhibits. Those include a barbecue ride Sunday from the museum to Matheson Hammock Park, a cycling-oriented Spring Break camp for kids, a bike tour of the Gables with artist Federico Carosio and a two-wheel tour of the M-Path route led by Meg Daly, founder of Friends of the Underline.
If you go
‘ARTCycle 2015: Cyclists Matter’ and ‘The Underline: Make it Yours’ run through May 24 at the Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Ave. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit www.coralgablesmuseum.org.