Hopper revs up for Russian art

St. Petersburg ride to mark deal between Guggenheim, Hermitage

VENICE — Actor-director Dennis Hopper, who rode a Harley Davidson in the cult classic “Easy Rider,” will join about 30 fellow motorcyclists in straddling a BMW bike this week to ride from St. Petersburg, Russia, to a medieval village some 2-1/2 hours away.

Hopper is a founding vice president of the Guggenheim motorcycle gang, a group that blossomed out of the popular roadster exhibition that played at both the New York and Bilbao Guggenheim museums. Other riders include Laurence Fishburne, Lauren Hutton and Guggenheim Bilbao architect Frank Gehry.

The purpose of the Russian ride is to formalize the signing of a deal between the Guggenheim and the Hermitage under which work from the Russian museum will be shown in a Guggenheim-Hermitage space to open at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

“We’re doing this ride to formalize this important collaboration,” Hopper told Daily Variety. “It’s the second one we’ve organized after Bilbao last year, and I know I’m going to have a great time.”

Hopper, who also is active in visual arts as a painter, sculptor and photographer, dropped in at the Venice Intl. Film Festival to support his friend and fellow artist Julian Schnabel at Monday’s world premiere of the latter’s second feature, “Before Night Falls,” which was recently picked up for U.S. distribution by Fine Line.

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