Madone: Damien Hirst
The Bikes of STAGES auction on November 1st at Sotheby's in NYC, has resulted in a donation of $1,125,000 going directly to The Lance Armstrong Foundation to help fund outreach, awareness, research, and advocacy.
One of the world's foremost iconoclasts, Damien Hirst has indeed managed to remake the face of the modern art world in his own image, and on his own terms. Rising to prominence in England in the 1990s as part of the art crew dubbed the YBAs ("Young British Artists"), Hirst subsequently went on to wage a carefully calculated shock-and-awe campaign the likes of which the gallery world had never before seen. His renowned shark tank work that has become his greatest visual legacy, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," broke new ground for Hirst, who has continued to use real animal remains in his work to great and profound effect ever since. Some of the most popular of these pieces have been ones resembling giant classical stained-glass windows composed entirely of the metallic-colored bodies of once-living butterflies. In late 2008, the reigning art star set a new record when his solo auction of new works, in direct partnership with Sotheby's, raised nearly $200 million in a two-day sale in London.
To help give Lance an extra boost across the finish line in this year's Tour de France, Hirst customized a Trek Madone with a gorgeous array of real butterflies from the frame down to the Bontrager rims, which also bear a repeating pattern of the willowy creatures. Eschewing the traditional LIVESTRONG yellow in favor of bright shocking pink logos all around, Hirst brings even more attention to the cause in a colorscheme that can be easily read at nearly any distance (or speed).
Says Hirst of the cycle:
"Lance is an inspiration to many people on many levels. Bono first approached me about the bike and described Lance to me as 'the greatest sportsman the world has ever known after Ali!' It was a great opportunity to work with someone I admire and create the bike — something I've never done before. The technical problems were immense, as I wanted to use real butterflies and not just pictures of butterflies, because I wanted it to shimmer when the light catches it like only real butterflies do, and we were trying not to add any extra weight to the bike. Doing something crazy like this is ultimately about transportation and not simply transport, and what Lance does when he rides it is the same thing. I think Lance loves it!"