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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

World’s most expensive art bicycle rolls into Dubai at Big Boys Toys

The world's most expensive bicyle - the $2 million cosmic star-cruiser artbike – will be on sale at Big Boys Toys 2014 in Dubai next week.
The cosmic star cruiser artbike is a hand-painted one-of-a-kind luxury piece by the internationally renowned artist Jack Armstrong.
The cosmic star cruiser artbike is a hand-painted one-of-a-kind luxury piece by the internationally renowned artist Jack Armstrong.

The world’s most expensive art bicycle worth US$2 million will be in Dubai at the Big Boys Toys 2014 event early next week. The cosmic star cruiser artbike is a hand-painted one-of-a-kind luxury piece by the internationally renowned artist Jack Armstrong. As a one-off masterpiece, Armstrong vowed never to produce another.

While to some it might look like you’ve left your mountain bike in the wrong neighbourhood for too long, this is a serious piece of art by a serious artist that has other artists drooling at his pieces — and his prices.

The American sold a painted Harley-Davidson in 2012 for $1.1m, but at least the buyer walked away with a Harley.

However, Armstrong has won over the celebrity art world with his belief in himself to have the power to create and that is, somehow, tied to the stars, the cosmos. It’s for this reason he brands himself “cosmic” artist.

He also pledged some years ago to produce only 100 paintings in his lifetime and has very definite opinions about how he markets those pieces. He will not use a big-name gallery, believing that the art world is a cartel sewn up by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Larry Gagosian and feels he can market his own work in a way that benefits him and not the art world.

Armstrong’s art is of exceptional value since, after repurchasing all of his early work, he destroyed it. In his eyes, it did not meet the level he had set for himself. It was then he decided to create only 100 paintings — an act that increased demand for his work.

He won the artbike in an arm-wrestling contest — despite being in his late 50s, Armstrong certainly has the muscles for it — and decided to repaint it using “cosmic existentialism”.

It will stand alongside a host of luxury items at the Big Boys Toys event — which runs from tomorrow until Sunday at Skydive Dubai. These include the $54,450 Rage Comet, billed as the ultimate off-road vehicle, and a Mercedes-Benz G63 18-seater limousine.

q&a boys will be boys

Atif Malik, exhibition Director at Artaaj Events — the company hosting Big Boys Toys 2014 — reveals more about the Cosmic Star-Cruiser Artbike.

US$2 million is a lot of money for a push bike.

This is not just a push bike, this is a piece of the finest art on the market today. It is not only a piece of art, it is a piece of art that very soon will be one of the very few Jack Armstrong pieces. He swore to Andy Warhol — his mentor — that he would only produce 100 pieces of art and he has now produced 97 and they go for millions now. Who knows what it will be like when he is producing no more?

Still, $2 million is a lot of money.

Half of the price goes to the lady who brought the bike over here. She is a wealthy US philanthropist who will give $1.5m of the money to charity. Big Boys Toys, which is hosting the bike, attracts people from all over the Gulf; and during Eid Dubai will have at least 300,000 neighbouring tourists here. People come to the event for the entertainment but a lot of them bring their chequebooks, so I would not be surprised if we sell it. In fact, I would be more surprised if we didn’t sell it.

Shall I bring my chequebook?

We have a solid gold push bike for sale. That is from a Lebanese artist priced at $1.5m, and everything we are showcasing from the fastest dune buggy to the motorbike with the biggest engine in it, the Rocket III Roadster 2300cc, is for sale — so yes, bring your chequebook.

ascott@thenational.ae

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