Sturgis ‘Passion Built’ Exhibit Uses Motorcycles as Art

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Sturgis Rally Passion Built Sportster

Carefully curated selection of custom bikes & art fills Sturgis through Aug. 10.

While they were/are designed as a mode of transportation and enjoyment, motorcycles have also quickly evolved into art. This is especially true in the world of custom bikes. Where masterful designers churn out mechanical equivalents of paint splattered on canvas. But that art also extends to folks like renowned motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter. Since 1977, Lichter has been capturing amazing bikes on film, whether they be showpieces or just cruisers riding down the highway. And for the 2018 Sturgis Rally, he’s also hosting his 18th annual custom motorcycle exhibit.

This year’s presentation, taking up shop at the Buffalo Chip casino’s event center in Sturgis, is dubbed “Passion Built – Garage to Gallery.” And like previous years, the theme is simple – motorcycles as art. But the bikes on display aren’t just your average show winners. Each one hand-picked by LIchter himself with a careful eye toward design.

“What I present in the gallery here at the Buffalo Chip is not a bike show like you can see at so many other bike events,” Lichter explained to Forbes. “This is an exhibition with a theme that changes every year. I challenged the invited artists and custom bike builders to push themselves and interpret these themes with their own personal styles.”

Harley Shovelhead

“As we do every year with these annual themed exhibitions – our 10th at the Buffalo Chip – we focus on an idea and hope that in addition to presenting incredible new custom motorcycles and artwork to the viewers that pass through this gallery, ” Lichter says, “That this exhibition series gets people thinking and if we’re lucky, challenges the status quo.”

This year’s lineup features 38 carefully selected rides and 16 artists on the walls behind them. It’s a very museum-like setting, with dramatic theater lighting, giving visitors a proper 360-degree look at each creation. And perhaps more importantly, drawing the focus to just how much time and passion builders dedicate to them.

Passion Built – Garage to Gallery is free to the public and open from 2 -10 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 4 through Friday, Aug. 10.

Photos: Micheal Lichter

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Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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