Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

LIVESTRONG(R) Raises $1.3 million From “It’s About the Bike” Auction at Sotheby’s for the Global Fight Against Cancer

LIVESTRONG raised $1.3 million for the global fight against cancer at the one-time-only auction, “It’s About the Bike,” at Sotheby’s in New York, NY on Sun., Nov. 1. The auction featured the seven bikes ridden by Lance Armstrong, LIVESTRONG founder and chairman, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, in his 2009 comeback season created by world-renowned artists including Shepard Fairey, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Yoshitomo Nara, Marc Newson and Kenny Scharf. The customized Trek Madone with a gorgeous array of real butterflies by Hirst garnered the highest bid at $500,000. In addition to funds raised by the bikes, $25,000 was raised from individual donations by auction guests. Sotheby’s Chairman of North and South America, Jamie Niven, served as auctioneer.

“Parting with these bikes was not easy for me. I have a tradition of keeping each of the bikes I race,” said Armstrong. “But when I realized I could bring together three of my passions — art, cycling and philanthropy — all in the name of LIVESTRONG, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.”

“This auction exceeded our expectations and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the artists, our partners Sotheby’s and Trek, and our generous bidders,” said Armstrong. “As a result of the funds raised, we’ll be able to build upon the successes of the global LIVESTRONG movement and continue our trail blazing efforts around the world to reduce the burden of cancer.”

This project was made possible by Trek Bikes, which has a rich tradition of partnering with Armstrong to outfit him with custom-painted bikes, starting with the “Sabreline” Project One bike he rode during the 2002 Tour de France. For the rest of his career — and even after retirement — Armstrong has ridden Project One painted bikes. Upon announcing his return to professional cycling in September 2009, the Trek Creative Group immediately began working on a new set of custom-painted bikes for Armstrong.

During a conversation with Trek’s President John Burke, Armstrong discussed the importance of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, his foundation’s initiative to address the global cancer burden, and his desire to link the best contemporary artists working today with Trek in an effort to raise awareness and generate funds to benefit LIVESTRONG. Trek responded by providing each selected artist with consultation to describe fabrication possibilities based on Trek’s custom-formulated coatings. The artists were briefed on traditional paint and airbrush techniques as well as masking and decal options in order to pick the methods best suited for each design. Each bicycle was uniquely handled — some frames were decorated strictly with paint, some required extensive decal work, while others hybridized production techniques and pushed the envelope of aesthetic possibility on a bicycle. The end results speak for themselves: beautiful bikes with a mission.


Shepard Fairey ($110,000)

“I think a lot of people don’t think that much about how to research and prevent diseases until they affect them directly and by that time, it can be too late. Lance is a great example of someone who has overcome cancer, gone on to do great things and had a positive attitude about it throughout. Creating a bike for him this year to heighten awareness for his LIVESTRONG mission and anti-cancer Stages art show that I also participated in was just a small way I could be a part of that fight.”

Fairey may be best known these days for his emblematic Barack Obama “Hope” poster, but in 1989 he kicked off a global street art phenomenon when he began his OBEY sticker campaign while still a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. That seminal campaign has since spawned a brilliant and multifaceted career. A nascent fine artist represented by the prestigious Deitch Projects gallery in NYC, Fairey still manages to find time for a hugely influential graphic design career with his company Studio One. As if that weren’t enough, Fairey also presides over one of the most important young streetwear companies, OBEY Clothing, and contributes his art and designs pro-bono to a myriad of charities, like LIVESTRONG, in a personal effort to further bridge the worlds of art and philanthropy. For Armstrong’s turn in the 2009 Giro d’Italia — a first for the newly ‘unretired’ Texan — Shepard commemorated the cyclist’s extreme dedication to the cancer mission by creating a customized Trek Madone in the now-iconic yellow and black LIVESTRONG colorway. To pay homage to the legendary history of the race in its 100th year, Fairey wrapped the bike and Bontrager rims in an array of intricate filigree patterns reminiscent of the classical architectural details found throughout Italy, interwoven with his own decidedly modern OBEY imagery.

Damien Hirst ($500,000)

“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!”

World-renowned iconoclast Hirst has managed to remake the face of the modern art world in his own image, and on his own terms. Rising to prominence in England in the 1990s as part of the art crew dubbed the YBAs (“Young British Artists”), Hirst subsequently went on to wage a carefully calculated shock-and-awe campaign the likes of which the gallery world had never before seen. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — the shark tank work that has become his greatest visual legacy — broke new ground for Hirst, who has continued to use real animal remains in his work to great and profound effect ever since. Among the most popular of these pieces are those resembling giant classical stained-glass windows composed entirely of the metallic-colored bodies of once living butterflies. In late 2008, the reigning art star set a new record when his solo auction of new works, in direct partnership with Sotheby’s, raised nearly $200 million in a two-day sale in London.

To help give Armstrong an extra boost across the finish line in this year’s Tour de France, Hirst customized a Trek Madone with a gorgeous array of real butterflies from the frame down to the Bontrager rims, which also bear a repeating pattern of the ethereal creatures. Eschewing the traditional LIVESTRONG yellow in favor of bright shocking pink logos all around, Hirst brings even more attention to the cause in a color scheme that can be easily read at nearly any distance (or speed).

KAWS ($160,000)

“As an artist who regularly designs commercial products as an extension of my fine art, creating a custom bike for Lance to ride was an incredible opportunity. My design was an attempt to honor the classic paint schemes of vintage racing bikes while simultaneously incorporating my personal visual vocabulary. I was just as surprised as anyone to see Lance crash on my bike in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon, but I think his recovery afterwards proves how determined he is to win — as a racer and cancer fighter — under any circumstances.”

Cutting his teeth doing art on the streets of NYC in the 1990s under the enigmatic moniker KAWS, Brian Donnelly hit artistic paydirt when he began a now-legendary series of interventionist public artworks on the advertising posters of the bus shelters of SoHo. In a gloriously creative critique of otherwise vapid fashion and general pop culture advertising, KAWS inserted himself into the landscape of pouty, disaffected models by covering their faces in his now-trademark multicolored XX-eyed skull and crossbones. The result gave birth to a simple but now deeply iconic graphic language that has crossed over into the world of product design for his personal brand Original Fake, which the artist approaches with a truly fetishistic zeal. Having worked collaboratively with some of the biggest brands in the world, KAWS uses graphic cues to bring instantly identifiable ownership to everyday objects in a way few other artists have done. To celebrate Armstrong’s participation in the 2009 Milan-Sanremo race, KAWS embraced a classic paint scheme for Armstrong’s “daily driver” Trek Madone, adding the distinctly Pop touch of his own recurring teeth pattern on the frame and wheels. The wheels instantly became two giant mouths, transforming Armstrong’s bike into a fierce, road-gobbling cartoon character. While the bike served him well during this race, it would go down for the count shortly after when Armstrong made the surprise last-minute decision to run the Vuelta Castilla y Leon race, where he promptly crashed and fractured his clavicle. Since then, KAWS’ beautiful ride has been affectionately dubbed The Widowmaker.

Yoshitomo Nara ($200,000)

“I put the words ‘Never forget your beginner’s spirit!’ not only for Lance, but for myself and everyone.”

One of Japan’s most influential modern art stars, Nara creates deceptively simple images of children whose outwardly cute demeanor often belies more dark and brooding motivations. A deeply obsessed music fan, Nara’s hardcore rock ‘n’ roll attitude in some way permeates all his work. This essential punk spirit infuses his imagery with palpable energy and vibrant dimension. To pay homage to Armstrong’s renewed racing career, Nara embellished this Trek TTX bike for the July 23rd Annecy time trials with a cartoon motif of children wearing boxing gloves and piloting UFOs, along with LIVESTRONG written in bubbly cloud lettering. In a personal gesture, Nara also included a moving inspirational message handwritten across the top tube of the bike’s frame, visible only when Armstrong’s head is deep in an aerodynamic tuck: “Never Forget Your Beginner’s Spirit.”

Marc Newson ($110,000)

“The whole concept is about movement and how certain graphics change with motion. I was inspired by old record players that had stroboscopic timing devices. When filmed moving, the rear wheel should appear to be static.”

Born in Sydney, Australia in 1963, and based in London, Newson is a revolutionary designer whose work in the fields of aerospace, furniture, product, jewelry, interior and vehicle design have earned him countless accolades from the design community. He counts companies like Nike, Ford, Dom Pérignon, Cappellini, Qantas, Samsonite and Jaeger Le Coultre among his A-list clientele, and Newson’s now iconic Lockheed Lounge remains the most expensive piece of furniture ever sold at auction. In 2005, he was selected as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. In 2007, he completed the cabin design for Spaceplane, a sub orbital spacecraft to be produced by EADS Astrium, scheduled to take passengers into space beginning in 2012. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London’s Design Museum, Musée national d’Art moderne-Centre Georges Pompidou and the Vitra Design Museum. He is represented by Gagosian Gallery. As his first run on the Tour de France after retiring from professional racing three years ago, 2009’s opening time trial was one of the most high-profile moments in Lance’s historic comeback and one appropriately commemorated by Newson’s graphic treatment of his Trek TTX. Featuring subtle flat black paint offset by glossy contrast details including Newson’s stroboscopic rear wheel design that appears to pulse as it spins, the bike brought a new level of design sophistication to the most legendary cycling event in the world while simultaneously flying the flag of cancer awareness in LIVESTRONG yellow.

Kenny Scharf ($45,000)

“I believe in Lance Armstrong and the determination he enthuses. I find that incredibly inspiring. I am a bike enthusiast. I ride all over NYC and I think the future to a better city is minimal cars and maximal bikes. I feel Lance Armstrong’s determination and inspiration can help fight cancer and I hope my design can be a part of that spirit.”

A true living Pop Art legend, Scharf is one of the few remaining masters of the original form still working at the peak of his powers, with an imagination and drive that remains undiminished. Scharf first gained renown among the fertile East Village art community of the 1980s, exhibiting his neon-emblazoned works with contemporaries such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat and developing a proto-Pop graffiti style at the creative dawn of the medium. A pioneer in the now-commonplace intersection of fine art and commerce, Scharf opened his legendary product outpost, the Scharf Shack, at a time when doing so was staking claim to a truly new crossover frontier. Alongside Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, the Scharf Shack laid the groundwork for the art-for-the-masses model popularized by recent artists such as KAWS and Takashi Murakami. To commemorate Armstrong’s run in the centennial edition of the Giro d’Italia, Scharf transformed Armstrong’s already futuristic Trek TTX time trial bike into a space traveling machine, emblazoned with a field of stars and planets and speeding red and blue comet characters streaking across the frame and wheels. Scharf’s plans to add a Hyperdrive motor unfortunately clashed with UCI regulations, but Armstrong’s leg power proved more than sufficient to propel this celestial ride to the podium.

California 1274 “STOLEN BIKE” ($130,000)

Armstrong’s return to professional cycling in support of LIVESTRONG merited the creation of two very special bikes. Designed by Trek for competition in his first ever Tour of California race in February, Armstrong’s twin custom “1274/27.5” Madone 6.9 and TTX 9.9 SSL cycles were designed to be messaging machines as well as road warriors. The number 1274 signifies the number of days Armstrong was in retirement following his final (and seventh) Tour de France victory in 2005. During this time, nearly 27.5 million people worldwide died from cancer. It’s a totally unacceptable statistic that ultimately prompted Armstrong to get back on the bike to raise the yellow flag of cancer awareness on a heightened global scale. Graphically, the bikes are works of art, and represent the pinnacle of Trek’s aesthetic engineering. The distinctive paint schemes were designed within the Trek creative team, and painted in their state-of-the-art Waterloo, Wisconsin facility using no decals. Using a complex series of paint masks, each letter, logo and design element was masked to size, painted and then covered for the next layer in a painstaking 40-hour process. If the TTX seems familiar, that’s because it’s currently the most famous bike in the world. On February 15, 2009 it was stolen from Armstrong’s equipment trailer in Sacramento after its run in the Tour of California prologue. Though it was recovered by police shortly afterward in time for use by Lance in the time trial (the two thieves were quickly caught and prosecuted), an immediate replacement was issued by Trek as much-needed backup. On it was painted the legend “Ride this one like YOU stole it.”


At LIVESTRONG, we fight for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. There can be — and should be — life after cancer for more people. That’s why we kick in at the moment of diagnosis, giving people the resources and support they need to fight cancer head-on. We find innovative ways to raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face. We connect people and communities to drive social change, and we call for state, national and world leaders to help fight this disease. Anyone anywhere can join our fight against cancer. Join us at

About Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s is a global company that engages in art auction, private sales and art-related financing activities. The Company operates in 40 countries, with principal salesrooms located in New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. The Company also regularly conducts auctions in six other salesrooms around the world. Sotheby’s is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BID.

About Trek Bicycle

Trek Bicycle is a global leader in the design and manufacture of bicycles and bicycling-related products and accessories. From Tour de France-winning road bikes to tricycles designed to introduce the next generation of riders to the possibilities of pedal-power, Trek has a bike for nearly every rider. More than a bike company, Trek is committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent people from using bicycles more often for daily transportation, recreation and inspiration, believing that the bicycle can be a simple solution to many of the world’s biggest problems, including obesity, traffic congestion and climate change.