New Mexico Museum of Art

Artist-in-Residence Justin Favela Creates Piņata-Style Lowrider for New Mexico Museum of Art Exhibition

June 10, 2016


As part of its summer celebration of the influence of lowriders on contemporary art, the New Mexico Museum of Art welcomes innovative contemporary artist Justin Favela as its artist-in-residence. Favela will create a half-scale, three-dimensional, piñata-style lowrider to suspend from the ceiling of the museum’s exhibition Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders, joining two of his smaller sculptures already on view. Visitors of all ages are invited to collaborate with Justin to create this unique made-in-New-Mexico paper lowrider.

The lowrider the artist will create at the museum is part of his ongoing interest in how vehicles are part of the popular imagination. In previous work, he has explored the iconic role of cars and trucks in celebrity tragedy and spectacle. Favela also created a life-sized Impala for a 2014 exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, highlighting Chicano culture in the South and bringing pop culture into a high-culture institution. In New Mexico, as part of a collaborative artmaking project in the context of an exhibition celebrating lowriders, his sculptural lowrider will assert the vibrancy of Chicano culture’s contributions to American art and celebrate the lowrider as an artistic and cultural icon. 

Workshop Hours:

Friday, July 8: 2-4 pm

Saturday, July 9: 10 am-1 pm and 2-4 pm

Sunday, July 10: 1 to 3:30 pm, followed by a procession with the completed lowrider at 4 pm.


Artist Talks:

Friday, July 8: 2 pm

Saturday, July 9: 2 pm

Sunday, July 10: 2 pm

The event is free with museum admission on Friday and Saturday and free to New Mexico residents all day on Sunday. The last day of his residency coincides with the museum’s Family Day, on Sunday, July 10, from 1:00-4:00 pm. Activities include:

  • Dress up photo booth

  • Screen printing of a special Con Cariño logo with Print Ninjas from Taos NM

  • Tissue paper decoration making

  • Button making

  • Lowrider bicycle with DJ station

  • All ages treasure hunt. First 100 participants get a free Fiesta Truffle courtesy of C.G. Higgins

  • About the Artist:

  • Using simple materials such as cardboard, Styrofoam, tissue paper, glitter, and glue, Favela creates works that hold up a fun-house mirror to American popular culture. His sculptures and installations are inspired by a collision of influences, including television, advertising, art history, and Chicano family traditions. Included among the subjects he has rendered in mixed media are tamales, a Henry Moore sculpture, Doritos, a urinal, Big Bird, and even a facsimile of his childhood neighborhood. His creations offer a sometimes hilarious and often sobering take on contemporary life, filtered through his own experience of growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Mexican and Guatemalan heritage.

"He’s such a savvy commentator on the resonance of popular culture icons and the variety of ways Chicano culture is assimilated into and disconnected from American life," said exhibition curator Katherine Ware. "His innovative use of ordinary materials and his interest in cars as cultural signifiers are a perfect match for an exhibition about art and lowriders."

The artist earned his B.F.A. degree in Studio Arts at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with an emphasis in sculpture and is known for his flexible, often collaborative, approach to artmaking. In addition to his sculptural work he is also recognized for creating events and performances, including the ambitious and ongoing Taco Takeover (, which documents every taco the artist has consumed across the globe since 2014 (we hope to add New Mexico to his map during his visit!). Favela’s focus on tacos, long considered a symbol of Mexican culture, underscores their popularity and demonstrates the literal consumption of Mexican culture by the international community. Favela has also involved his family in his work, staging Family Fiesta in several locations, including Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, and at Michael Heizer’s earthwork Double Negative near Overton, Nevada. Favela’s intention is to bring the particularity of his family’s party traditions into unfamiliar settings as a way of examining cultural expectations and assumptions.

"This is my first visit to Santa Fe and I am excited to be part of an exhibition in a place with such a rich history and culture," Favela said. "I am looking forward to working with museum visitors on a custom sculpture to celebrate the car culture in the Southwest. The lowrider – a true symbol of American progress!"

For more information about the artist and his career, see For additional information about Lowrider Summer programs at the museum, see

Image caption: Justin Favela, Lowrider Piñata, 2014, cardboard, paper, and glue, 5 x 19 ½  x 6 ½ ft. Installation at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. © Mikayla Whitmore

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


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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Related Photos

Justin Favela, Lowrider Piņata

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