Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro with two of his
bicycle sculptures in New York. The 82-year-old 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. Photo by
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
550kg, is 1.8m to 2.4m high and features large bicycles with
disproportionately smaller cyclists in different poses.
The works installed along a 16km bike route linking lower
Manhattan, downtown Brooklyn and riverside promenades are
part of the urban exhibit called "Las Bicicletas" that begins
on Tuesday (local time) and runs to September 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 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 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
"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
"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
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.