A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Hump Day Cool Finger: Artists custom design bikes for Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG foundation


Damien Hirst’s Madone design for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

In an effort to alleviate the boredom of the working midweek ARTLURKER is pleased to present its new doldrums smashing feature, Hump Day Cool Finger. Join us each Wednesday as we reflect with disenchantment upon the hybrid art ventures eroding the walls of contemporary art and aiding culture’s dissolution into a smattering of commercial trinkets. Alas, these are the times we live in.


Kenny Sharf’s Equinox TTX design for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

Damien Hirst was among a number artists recently commissioned by Lance Armstrong to create a custom design for his Trek Madone roadbike as part of  “STAGES” a hybrid art campaign of his Livestrong foundation and Nike that involved various art bikes ridden at various ‘stages’ of this year’s Tour de France (July 4th – July 26th). This was the second collaboration between Armstrong and artists; the first being two bikes used in his 2005 Tour de France victory that were customized with designs by graffiti artist Futura.


Yoshimoto Nara’s Speed Concept design for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

The design for Hirst’s bike is based upon his butterfly series, specifically his piece Tranquility that was sold for the equivalent of $1.71 million when it was auctioned in Hong Kong earlier this May. Replacing the traditional LIVESTRONG bright yellow Hirst’s bike, which Armstrong used for the final stretch of this year’s Tour De France stood apart – and had animal rights protesters in quite a flutter – as both its frame and Bontrager rims were enameled with dead butterflies.


Kaws’ design Madone for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

Hirst commented: “Lance is an inspiration to many people on many levels. Bono first approached me about the bike and described Lance to me as ‘the greatest sportsman the world has ever known after Ali!’ It was a great opportunity to work with someone I admire and create the bike — something I’ve never done before. The technical problems were immense, as I wanted to use real butterflies and not just pictures of butterflies, because I wanted it to shimmer when the light catches it like only real butterflies do, and we were trying not to add any extra weight to the bike. Doing something crazy like this is ultimately about transportation and not simply transport, and what Lance does when he rides it is the same thing. I think Lance loves it.”


Shepard Fairey’s Madone design for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

Others who designed bikes for STAGES were KAWS, Kenny Scharf, Yoshimoto Nara, Shepard Fairey and Barry McGee, the McGee bike debuted at the public anti-cancer ride in Hollywood on March 8th and went on to be Armstrong’s bike in the Tour of California. The Kaws bike appeared in the Milan-San Remo race. Industrial designer Marc Newson also crafted a Speed Concept trial bike that was used during Stage one.


Barry McGee’s Madone design for STAGES. Image Courtsey of

The bikes from STAGES were subsequently exhibited at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin Paris (July 17th – August 8th) in the hope of raising both funds and awareness for the global fight against cancer. Participating artists included Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Andrea Gursky, Cai Guo Qiang, Yoshitomo Nara, Christopher Wool, Jules de Balincourt, Tom Sachs, Shepard Fairey, Dzine, Eric White, Geoff McFetridge, Kaws, José Parla, Raymond Pettibon, Kenny Scharf, Rosson Crow, Aaron Young, Lari Pittman, Kenny Scharf, Catherine Opie and more.

An overview of the Lance Armstrong x LIVESTRONG x Nike Stages Art Project. Featuring commentary from Lance Armstrong, Mark Parker, Jose Parla, Shepard Fairey and Geoff McFeteridge.

Lance Armstrong is a Texas based cancer survivor and triathlete who won Tour de France several times. Often criticized for alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, he has dedicated his Tour de France experience to other people who are still fighting cancer around the world. All bikes from STAGES will be auctioned off for charity in October in New York.


Related Links:



» Trek Madone Bike by Damien Hirst

» Lance Armstrong’s New Trek Madone Bikes By Kaws & Barry McGee

» Counter Culture Cyclist Lance Armstrong Rides in Style with bikes from World-Class Artists


This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.



  • Zitlife

    Is lance armstrong giving customized doping also?? he has cheated on tour de france!!! Thank you for such an amazing collection.

  • Rey Parla

    José Parlá’s (b. 1973) paintings are concerned with the visible effects of time and human activity in and around cities. These paintings are typically mural-size, linked through their titles to specific places, often including collage and found objects, and are accumulations of writing, textures, multiple marks, and painterly incidents.

    These works bring the city into the gallery, offering a direct encounter without the mediations of transit that normally conditions our engagement with city walls.

    His paintings suggest a synthetic rereading of Abstract Expressionist painting, reinterpreted through Minimalism, to recover the performative aspects of Abstract Expressionism.

    In the case of Parlá’s work, each marking or writing is simply one moment in a series of discrete, individual performances — his calligraphic language occupies a different category than painterly markings, because it is not simply gesture but a symbolic carrier of meaning.

    Inspired by his travels around the world, Parlá’s paintings reveal the city to be both figuratively biographical — in the internal sense of remembered events, personal and public — and literally biographical — in the sense of having one’s biography actually written on the walls of the city. For STAGES, he has chosen to honor cancer patients by immortalizing the names of more than 250 cancer survivors in the dense scripted layers of his piece, bringing their myriad stories together into one great visual manifesto of hope in honor of the LIVESTRONG mission.

    José Parlá was born in Miami and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

  • I was there

    WOW! thanks for the great images of bicycles that rich people own.
    I wonder how often they ride?

  • valdes is coming

    I heard PETA got mad that Hirst’s bike had actual dead butterflies on it and Lance rode it at some point during Tour de France.

    Congrats to Jose Parla from Miami.

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Hump Day Cool Finger: Artists custom design bikes for Lance Armstrong’s LIVESTRONG foundation