David Byrne, the former Talking Heads frontman and one of our favorite musical artists dabbling in visual art, created a series of neighborhood-specific bike racks in New York City in 2008 — a guitar in indie rock hub Williamsburg, a high-heeled shoe in the garment district, the silhouette of a scantily clad woman in former outdoor adult theater mall Times Square, and more — but his new modular bike racks for the Brooklyn Academy of Music are decidedly more malleable.
The racks, which for strictly aesthetic reasons spell the words “pink crown” and “micro lip” on either side of the main entrance to BAM’s building at 30 Lafayette Avenue, are part of an evolving and modular alphabet of letter-shaped racks that will be swapped out, substituted and added to based on a variety of factors.
“I get to BAM fairly often, and the existing racks are often full, so it’s great that there will now be more,” Byrne said in a statement announcing the racks’ installation. “When designing these bike racks, I wondered how I could make something that was modular, yet variable — a design that wouldn’t always look the same and could vary depending on season and placement. I realized that a few very basic shapes — a semi circle, a line, and a V shape — would allow one to make a good percentage of the letters of our alphabet. With help and advice from Dero Bike Racks, we figured out how these components could be easily and quickly swapped out to spell different words. For example, the letters could spell out the productions at BAM or any random message for that matter.”
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image: David Byrne Bike Racks; photo by Dino Perrucci.)