Weekend Tourist: Bikes + art = ARTCRANK

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March 28, 2011
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky
Bicycling Magazine last year named Minneapolis the most bike-friendly city in the country. And we already know we have more artists per capita than nearly anywhere. So what do you get when you put the two together? ARTCRANK.

ARTCRANK is a juried exhibition and sale of limited-edition posters featuring bike themes. The mostly silk-screened posters cover a range of styles and content and sell for just $30 a piece. The opening party is April 2, and then the artworks move to two other locations. Don’t miss this truly unique expression of our cycling community — you’ve got more than a month to get there.

The show’s official opening is a one-night event in a photo studio near the Cream of Wheat Building condos. It’s the coolest art event of the year and, in addition to the great works of art, the people watching is stellar. (Arrive on your bike to blend in. And wear a messenger bag.)

The work in last year’s show celebrated the mechanics and attitudes of bike culture. Posters included: gears and chains; an abstract bike map of Minneapolis; a U.S. Forest Service-style logo with a bike messenger; a Paul Bunyan-sized rider crossing the Stone Arch Bridge; political commentary on bikes vs. cars; bikes and bars; and bikes and babes — just about everything.

Once inside the studio, pick up an artwork checklist. Work by 41 artists will be shown this year. The roughly 18-by-24-inch posters hang from bulldog clips on wire around the garage-like space. Pick the posters you like and take your order form to the checkout area. The posters are printed in editions ranging from 30 to 100 pieces. Several sell out on opening night, but all posters can be seen in the continuing exhibits.

ARTCRANK is the brainchild of Charles Youel, the show’s director and curator. As an advertising copy editor, Youel realized there were so many graphic designers and bikers in Minneapolis that he invented ARTCRANK. Now the show’s a full-time job. In addition to this show, Youel has held other events in Denver, St. Louis, Portland and Bend, Ore., San Francisco, Des Moines, Iowa, and London. The show’s mission is to combine the energy of bike culture, creativity and advocacy to create a new way for people to get excited about cycling for transportation, health and pure enjoyment.

Youel’s enthusiasm for biking and creativity is infectious. And you can bring that excitement home and hang it on your wall!

Don’t worry if you can’t make the opening because you’ve got two more chances. On April 8th ARTCRANK moves to Downtown’s One on One Bicycle Studio & Go Coffee. All the posters will be shown there and will be for sale until they run out.

Youel’s first exhibit was held at One on One in 2007 and they’ve had other bike-related exhibits there, too. This ultra-hip bike store has a loyal following of bicycle messengers, commuters, racers, mountain bikers and weekenders. They sell new, used and vintage bikes and everything from high-end European frames to old and rusted, cobbled-together bikes good for winter slush.

They pack a lot into a small space yet somehow have room for a taxidermy collection, too. Plus, they have really fantastic coffee! This store is a leader in the bike community and sponsors nearly everything related to local biking, including the Bicycle Film Festival, Minneapolis Bike Tour, alley-cat races and ARTCRANK. If you’re into biking, One On One’s the place to be.

This year’s show’s final destination is the Northrup King Building during Art-A-Whirl. By then it’ll be May. Charles Youel thinks the reason Minneapolis has so many winter bikers is because “it’s almost a dare.” But the snow should soon be gone by May and those of us who haven’t taken the dare can get our two wheels rolling.

Roll over to ARTCRANK one way or another and support the artists and bikers who make our community vibrant.

For information on ARTCRANK exhibition times and locations, go to artcrankpostershow.com.


Pie break
In addition to great, strong coffee, One On One has homemade sandwiches and delicious soups and cookies.