1963 Chevrolet Impala - owner Lee Cordova of Alcalde 1998. Photo by Jack Parsons/Palace of the Governors Photo Archives HP.2007.11
Lowrider Summer: Two Great Exhibits, A New Book, Cherry Cars, And Months Of Family-Friendly Activities
SANTA FE — The New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors and the New Mexico Museum of Art invite you to hit the road to the City Different this summer.
In collaboration with the Museum of New Mexico Press, we’re exploring the world of lowriders—the cars as well as the people. What’s in store?
Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico: Starting May 1 at the New Mexico History Museum, you can step into a stylized lowrider garage to meet the families of dreamers, engineers, artists and upholsterers who craft these specialized vehicles. Eight primo selections of cars will rotate through the exhibit and museum lobby. Other treats include images by Don Usner, Annie Sahlin, Jack Parsons, Sam Adams, Norman Mauskopf, Dottie Lopez, Gabriela Campos, Meridel Rubinstein and others, a chromed and touchable engine, miniature-scale model-car collections, trophies, and memorabilia.
“It’s all part of an American love affair with the internal combustion engine and the glimmering accessories that these vehicles have inspired through history,” said Curator Daniel Kosharek, whose first car was a 1957 Chevy two-door hardtop in matchstick color—royal blue on bottom, baby blue on top.
For more on the exhibit, including downloadable high-res images, click here.
Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders, opening May 21 at the New Mexico Museum of Art, show how it takes a special vision and a lot of hard work to transform an abandoned car into a one-of-a-kind sculpture on wheels, but that’s exactly what makes New Mexico’s lowriders so special. Though they are works of art in their own right, lowriders have also inspired artists working in other mediums. Responding to this unique cultural icon in photographs, paintings, sculptures, and videos, the artists in this exhibition explore issues of family, gender, religion, and status. On view will be more than fifty works by artists including Lawrence Baca and Ron Rodriguez, Justin Favela, Miguel Gandert, Alex Harris, Nicholas Herrera, Arthur Lopez, Norman Mauskopf, El Moisés, Jack Parsons, Meridel Rubenstein, Luis Tapia, Don Usner, and others. “The works in the show confirm what we in New Mexico already know to be true, that lowriders are an extraordinary art form in their own right as well as being a significant cultural icon that ignites the imaginations of people all over the world,” said Curator Katherine Ware.
¡Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico is a companion hardcover publication to the concurrent exhibitions reflecting the past forty years of lowrider culture in the heart of Northern New Mexico with approx. 130 color and black-and-white photographs. Published by the Museum of New Mexico Press; release date mid-September 2016.
A full summer of activities swirls around the exhibits, kicked off on May 22 with the first official Lowrider Day on the Plaza. The event includes a parade of cars from Fort Marcy to the Plaza, displays throughout the day, hopper demonstrations, a proclamation by Mayor Javier Gonzales, and a series of awards for lowriding participants.
Some events are still being developed, but what we already know will inspire you to rev up your engine:
Noon – 4 p.m., Sunday, May 1, Opening of Lowriders, Hoppers and Hot Rods, New Mexico History Museum: Step into a photo booth to snap a souvenir of your day, check out the video loop screening of South American Cho Lo, and attend a 2 pm lecture about the history of Lowrider Magazine by its former editor, Ray John. Free to NM residents.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, May 21, Opening of Con Cariño, New Mexico Museum of Art: Reception shared with the opening of the Lloyd Kiva New exhibit, plus a street display of lowriders and local artists making art with the public. Free to NM residents
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, May 22, Lowrider Day on the Plaza, History Museum and Museum of Art:Meet the people who create these works of art. The day includes a car procession, displays around the plaza, a mayoral proclamation, hopper demonstrations, and awards—plus free admission to both exhibits for NM residents.
10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, June 19, Community Day, History Museum and Museum of Art: Noted author and activist Denise Chávez speaks on chicanas, lowriders and the differences between southern and northern New Mexico in the History Museum auditorium. Art-making activities for all ages at both museums and a science-of-motion experiment with DIY cars. Free to NM residents; children free daily.
1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Sunday, July 17, Families Make History monthly workshop, History Museum: Are you ready to “Low Write”? Learn to write your name lowrider style, listen to car-inspired poetry and write your own with northern New Mexico poet and artist Tara Evonne Trudell. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents, children free daily.
9 – 10 a.m., Friday, August 12, CreativeMornings, History Museum: Enjoy a talk by Albuquerque’s Rob Vanderslice, internationally known award-winning lowrider car painter. Free.
2 p.m., Sunday, August 28, “Behind the Locked Doors of General Motors Design,” History Museum: Santa Fe Concorso President Dennis Little, the former head of GM’s design studio, gives a glimpse into creating the cars of the future. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents.
2 p.m., Sunday, September 25, “Growing Up in a Lowrider Community,” History Museum:Photographer Don Usner, whose work is in both museums’ exhibits, talks about his youth in the hotbed of lowrider culture, Chimayó. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents.
Oct. 16, Poetry Slam, History Museum: Levi Romero, associate director of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UNM, leads a lowrider slam with young poets. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents, children free daily.
1:30 – 3 p.m., Sunday, November 20, Families Make History monthly workshop, History Museum:Mike Roybal, a primo auto detailer and president of the Latin Dezire Car Club in Las Vegas, NM, shows how to use airbrushes to paint flames on paper. Free with admission; Sundays free to NM residents, children free daily.
Funding for these exhibits and programs has been generously provided by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, McCune Foundation, and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and 1% Lodgers’ Tax.