Steve McGuire

Steve McGuire
Professor and Area Head; Coordinator, Studio Division
Office: 
E305 VAB
Phone: 
319-335-3011
Academic Areas: 

Steve McGuire is Professor of Metal Arts and 3D Design and Studio Division Coordinator in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa. He received his M.A. in Sculpture in 1983 and Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Iowa.

Most recently, Steve has created a handmade bicycle curriculum, teaching Fabrication and Design: Hand Built Bicycle I and II since 2010.  The University of Iowa Hand Built Bicycle Program, comprised equally of art and engineering majors, emanates from the pedagogical belief that purposeful exploration is the best tool for teaching and learning skills, concepts and tools–in this instance welding, modeling, 3D concepts, fabrication tools, aesthetics and materials. The University of Iowa was the first academic institution to be selected to exhibit the work of students at the North American Hand Built Bicycle Show, the most prestigious venue of its kind internationally. In 2014, five engineering students and five art students traveled to the North American Hand Built Bike Show in Charlotte, NC, to exhibit the bicycles they built, in the process ­garnering national recognition for their quality bicycles. Check out Bike RumorBike MagazineBike RadarFat-Bike.com and the Daily Iowan. The hand built bicycle courses are part of a larger collaborative initiative between the College of Engineering and the School of Art & Art History, the first of its kind Art & Engineering Track. The exhibit is an exceptional professional experience, and promotes the College of Engineering and School of Art & Art History’s curricular collaboration. This year 10 students will travel to Salt Lake City, UT to exhibit bicycles at NAHBS 20167.  The program will also participate in bespoked 2017.

Since its inception five years ago, over 70 students have built bicycles, students have gone on to be engineers and craftspeople in the bicycle industry, and some of the most important contemporary craftspeople and engineers have traveled to the University to provide lectures and workshops (Handmade Bicycles 2015 catalog).

Steve’s current project is, Blue Dot – Building a Bicycle and Racing on the Arrowhead Trail. This project is centered on building a bicycle for accomplishing a winter time-trial on the Arrowhead Trail in Northern Minnesota in January 2018, and doing a video documentary of the building and racing of the bicycle. In preparation for this project Steve will complete Tuscobia Winter Ultra, January 8, 2017, and Arrowhead 135, January 30, 2017.  " “For me, there is immense satisfaction in riding 24-hour and multi-day ultra races on a bike that I built for specific geography and conditions. A well designed and built bicycle at once applies the knowledge gleaned from many events, delivers the personality of geography, enhances performance and even opens up possibilities not considered. Ultra races tend to render me ever adaptable, and that’s why experiences from events surface as dynamic metaphors and check-lists. An event turns out to be just what happened, but it requires getting to the starting line, and getting to the starting line requires robust composition. Executing an event means planning several months ahead and also building the right bicycle. Bottom bracket height, fork offset, stand-over and capacity to carry event-specific equipment involve intense interrogation of what worked and did not work, and a history bicycle and component design. Two decades ago accomplishing an event was as simple as saying, “racing on the Iditarod for three days in the dead of winter might make a great story” (which it did). Now, I attempt good stories, like an off-road race across MN in the dead of winter, by committing the knowledge–and stories–of tens of thousands of miles to sensibility and the bike I build. Building a bicycle actually helps me explore how an event may unfold.

Steve McGuire is Professor of Metal Arts and 3D Design and Studio Division Coordinator in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Iowa. He received his M.A. in Sculpture in 1983 and Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Iowa.

Most recently, Steve has created a handmade bicycle curriculum, teaching Fabrication and Design: Hand Built Bicycle I and II since 2010.  The University of Iowa Hand Built Bicycle Program, comprised equally of art and engineering majors, emanates from the pedagogical belief that purposeful exploration is the best tool for teaching and learning skills, concepts and tools–in this instance welding, modeling, 3D concepts, fabrication tools, aesthetics and materials. The University of Iowa was the first academic institution to be selected to exhibit the work of students at the North American Hand Built Bicycle Show, the most prestigious venue of its kind internationally. In 2014, five engineering students and five art students traveled to the North American Hand Built Bike Show in Charlotte, NC, to exhibit the bicycles they built, in the process ­garnering national recognition for their quality bicycles. Check out Bike RumorBike MagazineBike RadarFat-Bike.com and the Daily Iowan. The hand built bicycle courses are part of a larger collaborative initiative between the College of Engineering and the School of Art & Art History, the first of its kind Art & Engineering Track. The exhibit is an exceptional professional experience, and promotes the College of Engineering and School of Art & Art History’s curricular collaboration. This year 10 students will travel to Sacramento, CA to exhibit bicycles at NAHBS 2016.

Since its inception five years ago, over 70 students have built bicycles, students have gone on to be engineers and craftspeople in the bicycle industry, and some of the most important contemporary craftspeople and engineers have traveled to the University to provide lectures and workshops (Handmade Bicycles 2015 catalog).

Steve’s current project is "The Poetics of Endurance: Design It, Build It, Ride It," a traveling exhibition of handmade bikes built for specific ultra races. “For me, there is immense satisfaction in riding 24-hour and multi-day ultra races on a bike that I built for specific geography and conditions. A well designed and built bicycle at once applies the knowledge gleaned from many events, delivers the personality of geography, enhances performance and even opens up possibilities not considered. Ultra races tend to render me ever adaptable, and that’s why experiences from events surface as dynamic metaphors and check-lists. An event turns out to be just what happened, but it requires getting to the starting line, and getting to the starting line requires robust composition. Executing an event means planning several months ahead and also building the right bicycle. I’ve created bicycles for the Colorado Trail, the Arrowhead and Tuscobia Ultras and the Flint Hills of Kansas. Bottom bracket height, fork offset, stand-over and capacity to carry event-specific equipment involve intense interrogation of what worked and did not work, and a history bicycle and component design. Two decades ago accomplishing an event was as simple as saying, “racing on the Iditarod for three days in the dead of winter might make a great story” (which it did). Now, I attempt good stories, like an off-road race across MN in the dead of winter, by committing the knowledge–and stories–of tens of thousands of miles to sensibility and the bike I build. Building a bicycle actually helps me explore how an event may unfold.

 

Selected Works: 
Bicycle built by professor Steve McGuire
Preparing for NAHBS
Bubble Puppy winter ultra frame