Mathieu Lefevre was riding his bike home from 3rd Ward when he was run over by a flat bed truck driver from behind while both were taking a right turn. He died immediately.
The truck did not stop and was found parked a few blocks beyond the crash. After the driver was found, it is reported that he claimed he didn't know he hit anyone. A week later, the NYPD announced
they will not file any charges against the driver.
A photo of the ghost bike was featured in a New York Times article discussing the NYPD's poor investigation of the crash and the family's continuing struggle for information and justice.
Mathieu had recently moved to NYC from Montreal to pursue his career as an artist.
As a boy growing up in Alberta, in the countryside of western Canada,
Mathieu Lefevre staged turtle Olympics, skied, built forts, played
hockey and soccer. Everyone in the family was an avid cyclist. In
Montreal, where Mr. Lefevre studied art, his work was hailed as witty and caustic, and it won honors. According to the NY Times, which detailed the problems the NYPD gave his family immediately after his death.
Mathieu's family have since appeared at two rallys demanding better accountability from the NYPD. They have repeatedly requested details of the investigation.
The NYPD has denied those requests. You can sign the petition for Traffic Justice here.
His family and friends installed a ghost bike in his memory in November 2011.
After the family finally received a copy of the crash report from the police, it was revealed that most of the press statements about the crash previously made by police spokespersons were not correct.
At a press Rally on November 30, 2011 Mathieu's mother, Erica Lefevre spoke directly to NYPD.
“Today, I am asking NYPD to stop leaking misinformation to the press
about crash victims,” she said. “That only hurts victims and their
families and makes NYPD appear unprofessional and biased.”
Lefevre's family was given the accident report by the NYPD just under two weeks after the crash but has not permitted them to see video of the crash and other evidence police say they have.
More about Mathieu:
from the Montreal Gazette:
"It was a great loss. The art world is thinking, ‘Wow, what would he
have done?' " said Hugues Charbonneau, co-director of Galerie Division
in Griffintown, which recently hosted a solo exhibition by Lefevre.
"His works were very caustic, very biting," said Anie Deslauriers, the gallery's assistant director.
"He observed the art world. (His work) was very funny, ironic and sarcastic," she said.
include an oil painting titled "I don't get it," where that sentence
was scrawled in multicoloured paint across a large canvas.
"That was a phrase he often heard" when people were looking at his work, Deslauriers said.
works often incorporated three-dimensional objects and crossed the
boundary between painting and sculpture. One, with the caption, "My Bike
Disguised as Contemporary Art," featured a bicycle wedged inside a
The Edmonton-born Lefevre had multiple tattoos of famous
works of art by Picasso, Matisse and other painters on his arms and
The graduate of Université du Québec à Montréal had
held about 20 solo exhibitions and had taken part in some 30 group
exhibitions, including this year's Prague Biennale in the Czech
"He was 10 years ahead of his age," Charbonneau said in a
telephone interview from Brooklyn, where he attended the funeral along
with Lefevre's parents, who live in Edmonton, and his Montreal
girlfriend. "Everybody was looking at him as a very strong, upcoming
From Flash Art:
Mathieu Lefèvre, a very promising young Canadian artist based in New York, was killed after being run over by a truck in East Williamsburg on October 19. The driver, who claims not to have seen the 30-year-old artist, will not be prosecuted. The funeral was held in New York on Tuesday, October 25.
Lefèvre's artwork was disillusioned, but nevertheless playful and
amusing. Playing the hard chords of irony, Lefèvre questioned the very
idea of being an artist making art today. Fueled by a sense of mischief,
his work engaged the oxymoron in such a fashion that even those without
a sense of humour could not fail to be amused. His playful
contradictions, however, conveyed a certain disenchantment, which
introduces an important distinction between the concepts that underlie
Lefèvre's work and the fashionable, inflated, grandiloquent and
comforting ideas favoured by certain artists and curators these days.
expressing themselves figuratively, Lefèvre's works stand somewhere
between Dadaism and tattooing, between Duchamp and consumer society,
between classical painting and playful nonsense, between Manet and the
cartoon, between Picasso and graffiti, between a visual cacophony and
the kindness of a lamb. In fact, Mathieu had multiple tattoos of famous
artworks by Picasso and Matisse, and the name of Watteau in Gothic font.
The last important exhibition in which he participated was the Prague
Biennale 5, in the Canadian section, presented last spring.
Tu vas beaucoup nous manquer, cher Mathieu ... we will deeply miss you, Mathieu.
Marius Tanasescu, Montreal