Live

Watch CBSN Live

Motorcycles As Art

The Guggenheim Museum in New York has put more than 100 motorcycles on display for what they are calling The Art of the Motorcycle.

CBS 'This Morning' Field Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart met with the curator, Ultan Guilfoyle, to learn more about the exhibit.

Motorcycles play a big role in American popular culture. "Just look at Captain America" says Guilfoyle.

You can see at the museum not only a replica of the Easy Rider bike, but also the same model motorcycle Clint Eastwood rode in Coogan's Bluff.

In the movies, we see rebels and loners riding into the sunset and "in general, people who own motorcycles in this country are a little different - individualists," says Guilfoyle. Not so in Europe. There, people did not have the money to buy cars, so they bought motor scooters.

For example, the Vespa scooter, like the one used by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, has been widely manufactured by the Italians, and millions are still on the streets around the world.

Also, says Guilfoyle, "The 20th century has been all about speed in many ways with the inventions of trains and planes and cars." Motorcycles were no different. "The first motorcycles were about putting an engine on a bicycle to make it go faster," he explains.

The BMW bike that set the speed record of 173 mph in 1973 can be seen, as well as the MV Augusta, the Italian grand prix winner of the 50s.

In the '90s, it is Il Monstruo (The Monster), the bike of choice. "It's been bought by both men and women, and it's sexy, it is a fashion statement, and it can be driven on city streets or back roads." says Guilfoyle.

The exhibition is attracting nearly twice the number of usual visitors, including some you just don't see at the museum every day.

Written by CBS 'This Morning' Field Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart