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ldewey's picture


Arlen Ness is one of the best known motorcycle customizers in the world, with enough competition trophies to prove it.

He got his start working out of his garage in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he’s been lovingly building gorgeous, one-of-a-kind bikes ever since.

This one is no exception-- QuickNess is a sweet Harley Davidson that Arlen customized in the mid-1980s. It spent its glory days on the custom motorcycle competition circuit (yep, that’s a thing) before finding its final resting place at the Oakland Museum of California.

With the dual appeal of both an art object and a piece of heavy machinery, QuickNess is not quite sculpture and not quite design. The silver and copper leaf, gold plating, and sumptuous engraved designs give it a sexy, fiery look. Maybe it’s a representation of Arlen’s inner self?

With stunning motorcycle siblings SmoothNess and NessTalgia, QuickNess has some tough competition. But a curator clearly found QuickNess to be the best, securing the purchase and plopping it down smack-dab in the middle of the Oakland Museum.

On another note, perhaps Arlen needs to lay off the punny names at risk of overdoing it on the….cheesiNess.

amcneary's picture


The title, QuickNess, is a rather egotistical pun. 


Maybe it’s a sculpture. Maybe it’s design. Maybe it’s stupid that there’s a motorcycle in an art museum. That said, you might find Ness's bikes truly beautiful. A curator clearly did!