by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
Art of the Basket Case
by Andrew C. Bauer
Softcover. 150 pages
Dimensions (inches): 10x8x0.5
Publisher: Ilumina Publishing (2008)
List Price: $29.95
You can tell when the obsession has really taken hold.
The first sign can be found by looking in the closet.
It will be overflowing with clothing ready for any and every possible environmental condition. In multiples.
Next is a bad case of the "one bike is not enough" syndrome. I own seven.
Then you will find assorted piles of motorcycle junk filling up all corners of the garage, which has long since given up hope of acting as a parking space for the car.
Winter slows things down a bit, so for those of us unlucky enough to live in a climate where the occasional snowfall actually does prevent us from riding, there's only one recourse: the motorcycle book.
And a good fire...
I suppose that's why there always seems to be a market for the next motorcycle-related coffee table book.
The absence of words provides an easy way to get a quick cure for motorcycle fever when the weather turns rough.
Every dedicated motorcycle owner has to have a few strategically placed on said table, ready for the quick and furtive glance.
A secondary purpose for this type of book is to serve as the owner's statement of purpose to any guest that happens by.
The Art of the Basket Case is perfect in that regard; there are more words in the review you are now reading than there are in the entire book, which consists mostly of abstract photographs of bits and pieces of broken down, rusted hulks and parts.
A non-believer might look at it and think "Somebody actually published a book full of pictures of rusted junk?"
I said that myself actually, when I first leafed through the pages. But, as it just so happens, a closer look reveals that the photos provide an amusing and fun memory game.
Study the photos and try to identify the pieces, and you can while away the hours imagining the glorious old bikes from whence they came.
The mark of a good photograph is its ability to draw in the observer, and these do just that -- it takes some time to study each image, plumbing the memory banks in an effort to conjure up which motorcycle or engine or assembly provided the original.
This is what makes the Art of the Basket Case so deceptively entertaining.
The photographs are very nicely composed and the author (who is the photographer) did not succumb to the temptation to over-process the results in Photoshop, like some other coffee table books we've reviewed.
Realize, however, that these are meant to be artistic images of bits and pieces of old and rusted motorcycles, long-forgotten logos, parts and other assorted...detritus.
The author sums it up perfectly in the brief introduction:
"What I hope this book brings forth is another kind of art; things that are no longer smooth, shiny, straight (or curved) or pretty. It is my passion and duty to bring these basket cases one last shred of dignity, so that future generations will never forget them."
Well said, and well done!
The Art of the Basket Case was published in a limited run, so only a few copies are available.
Publication Date: July 2009