The Denver Art Museum (DAM) opened Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion, a new exhibition that features artworks exploring lowrider and skateboard culture in Denver and across the American Southwest.
Watch the opening day events from July 9, the opening day events from July 9, featuring exhibit highlights, lowrider car show and interview with artist Liz Cohen provided by El Semanario Livestream, video produced by Karen Gutiérrez and translation by Juan Carlos Uribe.
Organized by Phoenix Art Museum, Desert Rider, highlights how Southwestern Latinx and Indigenous artists express identity, pride and a sense of community by transforming vehicles – such as lowriders and skateboards – associated with the western U.S.
Created and curated by Gilbert Vicario, former curator of contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum, Desert Rider features works presented against the backdrop of civil unrest at the time and tie together ideas of history, place, resistance and empowerment. Images of customized vehicles racing through the wide-open landscapes of the U.S. Southwest became symbols not only of freedom and power, but also rebellion and nonconformity. Curated at the DAM by Victoria I. Lyall, Jan and Frederick Mayer Curator of Arts of the Ancient Americas, the Denver presentation of Desert Rider adds works by Colorado artists representing their communities in Colorado and the American Southwest.
Desert Rider showcases large-scale installations, prints, sculptures and more by artists including Margarita Cabrera, Nanibah Chacon, Liz Cohen, Justin Favela, Douglas Miles and Cara Romero. Cruising just a few inches above the pavement, a lowrider’s candy paint, chrome rims and tuck and roll upholstery reflect its owner’s style and identity.
Desert Rider begins by centering the “Lowrider” section on Denver artists, including a commission by photographer Juan Fuentes that celebrates the city’s four-decade history of cruising low and slow. Like other lowrider makers, Justin Favela’s large-scale car sculpture celebrates its owner’s identity as a queer Chicanx artist. Using materials associated with Mexican piñata—tissue paper and cardboard—Favela’s lowrider celebrates queer icons and pays homage to the recent shooting in Colorado Springs’ Club Q victims.
A section highlighting women and cars features women artists whose work challenges the perception that customized automobiles are a male-dominated pastime. With Stories Better Told by Others (Cindy Corrales) [Historias mejor contadas por otras (Cindy Corrales), a series of color inkjet prints with hand-painted lettering and lithographs, Liz Cohen celebrates the Lowrider Magazine cover models whose labor, personas and contributions to popularizing lowriding globally have been ignored.
The DAM is free to kids 18 and under everyday thanks to presenting sponsor Bellco Credit Union.
Desert Rider is on view through Sept. 24, 2023, in the Hamilton Building’s Anschutz Gallery, Desert Rider will be included with general admission, which is free for members and all visitors 18 and under.
The Denver Art Museum is located at 100 W 14th Ave. Pkwy. Denver, Colorado, denverartmuseum.org or call 720-865-5000.
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