American Icon & Whiskey Ridge

May 17 through August 12, 2018

The Muskegon Museum of Art devotes a gallery to the American love of vintage motorcycles with American Icon: The Art of the Motorcycle and a complementary exhibition, Whiskey Ridge: The Summer of ’51, from May 17 through August 12, 2018. The exhibitions will include motorcycles from area collectors and photos of Whiskey Ridge stock car races taken by Dot Thompson in the summer of 1951. The public is invited to a free reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Thursday, May 17 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.

American Icon offers a glimpse at the artistry of the motorcycle over the years, through vintage and custom bikes drawn from Muskegon area collections. The display includes motorcycles from Harley-Davidson alongside early, ultra-rare examples from American manufacturers Henderson and Excelsior. American Icon also features portraits and images that highlight the artistry of customized motorcycles and the men and women who ride them by Michigan photographers Bill Chardon and Jennifer Green.

Mark Fazakerley collection

Hot Rod Harley collection

Dorothy “Dot” Thompson: Photo of Crashed Jalopies at Whiskey Ridge 1951. Photo courtesy of Dot Thompson

Dorothy “Dot” Thompson: Whiskey Ridge Race 1951. Photo courtesy of Dot Thompson

Whiskey Ridge features twelve photographs that Dorothy “Dot” Thompson took with her Kodak Brownie box camera in the summer of 1951 at the Whiskey Ridge Raceway, also known as the Newaygo County Speedway and, later, the Maple Island Raceway, a 3/8 mile dirt oval track located near Grant, Michigan. The photos capture a sense of the speed and dangerous thrills of early stock car races. Images include the dramatic events of the day and the faces of the drivers and spectators, providing a contemporary look at local racing history.

American Icon is underwritten by Harbor Steel & Supply Corporation. Program support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Arts.