Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Con Cariņo: Artists Inspired by Lowriders

New Mexico Museum of Art

May 02, 2016


Part of Santa Fe’s Lowrider Summer Rolls into town May 21

“The lowrider car is a personal utopia and to enter it is to leave the everyday world behind and to become extraordinary for a while.” Curator Katherine Ware

The New Mexico Museum of Art celebrates the artistic influence of lowriders on contemporary New Mexico artists in Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders. Responding to this unique cultural icon in photographs, paintings, sculptures, and videos, this exhibition demonstrates the importance of lowriders as a rich subject for artistic inspiration. The artists in Con Cariño explore issues of family, gender, religion, and community, some coming to lowriders as outsiders and others using lowriders to explore their own heritage and traditions.

The exhibition opens with a free-to-the-public reception on Friday, May 20, 2016, at 5:30 pm, and is on view May 21 through Oct. 9, 2016.

“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. She goes on to say, “Despite the care and craftsmanship that goes into these cars, they have sometimes had negative associations. Today, we embrace them as unique works of art and a distinctive part of New Mexico culture. The unique beauty of lowriders and the experience of riding in them, creating them, or admiring them has inspired each of the artists in this exhibition. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating the lowrider as an icon of the Southwest and a home-grown expression of creativity and pride with close ties to place, family, and faith.”

The exhibition includes more than fifty works dating from the 1970s to the present. More than a dozen artists are represented, including Lawrence Baca and Ron Rodriguez, Justin Favela, Miguel Gandert, Alex Harris, Nicholas Herrera, Arthur Lopez, Norman Mauskopf, El Moisés, Jack Parsons, Meridel Rubenstein, Rose B. Simpson, Luis Tapia, Don Usner, and others.

The Museum of Art’s Con Cariño exhibition coincides with the New Mexico History Museum’s exhibition Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture in New Mexico (May 1, 2016 – Mar 5, 2017) featuring the creative reimagining of the car by home-grown Nuevomexicanos who customize, detail, paint and upholster these favorite symbols of Hispanic culture into mobile works of art.

▪Mayor Javier Gonzales Proclaims Lowrider Summer

A full summer of activities swirls around the companion lowrider exhibits at the New Mexico Museum of Art and New Mexico History Museum. Mayor Javier Gonzales kicks things off on Sunday, May 22, the first official Lowrider Day, when he takes the stage in Santa Fe’s historic Plaza to proclaim this “Lowrider Summer.” Meet the people who create these works of art in a day that includes a parade of more than 100 cars from Fort Marcy to the Plaza, car displays on the streets surrounding the Plaza, “hopper” demonstrations, and a series of awards for lowriding participants. DJ Jason Crawford will provide the music, visitors can make art with local artists, and there will be free admission to both of the museum exhibits for NM residents.

▪Scheduled Events for Con Cariño

Fri., May 20, 5:30-7:30 pm, Public Reception, Con Cariño. Join us for an evening of art, music, and hors d’oeuvres as the museum celebrates the opening of two exhibitions, Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders and Finding a Contemporary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA. Check out Rose B. Simpson’s lowrider Maria (named for innovative clay artist Maria Martinez) in front of the museum, listen to music by DJ Prairiedog, and make your own paper lowrider.

Sun., May 22, 10 am–5 pm, Lowrider Day on the Plaza. Meet the people who bring lowriders to life. The day includes a lowrider procession from Ft. Marcy to the Plaza, lowriders all around the Plaza, a proclamation by the Mayor, hopping demonstrations, music, and awards. Free admission to both exhibits for NM residents, with coloring pages, button-making, and art projects in the museum.

Fri., June 3, 5:30-6:30 pm, Artist Gallery Talk: Arthur Lopez. Known for his contemporary approach to the traditional art of the santero, Arthur Lopez has incorporated lowriders into his work, conveying the strong interrelationship between lowriders, faith, and the landscape of New Mexico. Lopez and his family also collect work by other artists interested in the lowrider as a cultural icon, several of which are on view in the exhibition. Free

Fri., July 1, 5:30-6:30 pm, Artist Gallery Talk: Luis Tapia. Sculptor and santero Luis Tapia grew up in Santa Fe and began exploring the Hispano folk art of northern New Mexico in the early 1970s. He views his own carvings as an extension of that tradition with the addition of a contemporary sensibility, often touching on the religious, political, and social issues of today. Free

Sun., July 10, 1-4 pm, Family Day: Enjoy free family activities in a festive, creative atmosphere with hands-on art-making and lively 30-minute family tours.  Explore the exhibitions Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders and Finding a Contemporary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA. Stage your own self-portrait in a dress-up photo booth in the exhibition Self-Regard: Artist Self-Portraits from the Collection.

Fri., Sat., Sun., July 8-10, Visiting Artist and Community Artmaking: Artist Justin Favela brings his distinctive style to the museum for a three-day residency, working with the local community to create a giant paper lowrider that will be added to the exhibition Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders when it is completed. Bring your family and friends and be part of making something spectacular to hang in the museum. No experience necessary, all ages welcome.

Fri., Aug. 5, 5:30-6:30 pm, Artist Gallery Talk: Meridel Rubenstein. Challenged by a suggestion that lowriders were the true craftsmen of New Mexico, in 1979 photographer Meridel Rubenstein ventured to Española to meet and photograph them. Rubenstein recognized lowriders as fellow artists and says they changed her own approach to making art. Her portraits of lowriders were featured in the Museum of Art’s 1980 exhibition The Lowriders, held outdoors on the Plaza alongside a car show. Free.

Fri., Sept. 2, 5:30-6:30 pm, Artist Gallery Talk: Rose B. Simpson. Artist Rose B. Simpson’s interest in lowriders comes from growing up in Santa Fe and at Santa Clara Pueblo near Española, the lowrider capital of New Mexico and arguably the world. Simpson created her own black-on-black lowrider, Maria (named for artist Maria Martinez) and uses the cars in some of her work to shift boundaries of culture and gender. Free.

Fri., Oct. 7, 5:30-6:30 pm, Artist Gallery Talk: Miguel Gandert. Born in Española, Miguel Gandert is known for his ongoing exploration of Indio-Hispano culture in New Mexico. Two of Gandert’s collaborative video pieces are showcased in the exhibition, offering a nostalgic lens on the lowrider experience using a contemporary medium. Two of Gandert’s photographs are also included in the show. Free.

▪The Official Lowrider Book

¡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.

▪Native Art Shares the Spotlight

The Friday, May 20, opening of Con Cariño at the New Mexico Museum of Art is shared with the opening for Finding a Contemporary Voice: The Legacy of Lloyd Kiva New and IAIA. This exhibition celebrates the centennial of visionary Cherokee artist, designer, and artistic director at IAIA, Lloyd Kiva New, with an exhibit of work by faculty, students, and alumni of IAIA.

Image captions: (Top) Norman Mauskopf, Española, New Mexico, 2000, gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 × 11 15/16 in. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Howard Korder, 2014 (2014.14.6) Photo by Blair Clark © Norman Mauskopf, and (Bottom) Meridel Rubenstein, Benino Martinez, ’64 Chevy, Chimayó, New Mexico, 1980, Chromogenic print, Courtesy of the artist.

▪Please note: Beginning Monday, May 2 through October 31, the Museum of Art will be open to the public seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm., and also Friday evenings until 8 pm.

Funding for these exhibits and programs has been generously provided by supporters of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, McCune Foundation, and the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and 1% Lodgers’ Tax.

Media Contacts: Steve Cantrell, PR Manager, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, New Mexico Museum of Art, 505-476-1144,, AND Kate Ware, Curator of Photography, 505-476-5088,


Founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Art has been presenting innovative arts programming in downtown Santa Fe for close to 100 years. At its founding the museum collected and exhibited artworks by noted artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide array of exhibitions and a significant collection featuring work from the world’s leading artists. Today, as at its founding, the New Mexico Museum of Art strives to bring the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its Director’s Leadership Fund, Exhibitions Development Fund, and Fund for Museum Education.

The Museum is located at 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, just off the downtown Plaza. 24 Hr. Recorded Message: (505) 476-5072; Front desk: (505) 476-5041. November through April the museum is open Tuesdays - Sundays: 10 am-5 pm and open for free 5 to 8 pm on the first Friday of the month. May through October the museum is open 7 days a week 10 am-5 pm and is open for free every Friday night from 5 to 8 pm. The Museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Weather conditions may require the Museum to close; you can check with the Front Desk at 505-476-5041. Visit us on the web for the latest updates at



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