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Lowriders in Chicano Culture From Low to Slow to Show

Physical description:
1 online resource (223)
Type:
Electronic resources
Electronic books
Electronic resource
History
Place:
California
Los Angeles
Californie
Date:
2011
20th century
20e si{grave}ecle
Topic:
Mexican Americans--Social life and customs  Search this
Lowriders--Social aspects  Search this
Lowriders--History  Search this
Automobiles--Societies, etc--Social aspects  Search this
Popular culture  Search this
Am{acute}ericains d'origine mexicaine--M{oelig}urs et coutumes  Search this
Voitures surbaiss{acute}ees--Aspect social  Search this
Voitures surbaiss{acute}ees--Histoire  Search this
Clubs automobiles--Aspect social  Search this
Culture populaire  Search this
Lowriders  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1156498

Roadside America : the automobile in design and culture / edited by Jan Jennings

Author:
Jennings, Jan 1946-  Search this
Society for Commercial Archeology (U.S.)  Search this
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village  Search this
Physical description:
x, 220 p. : ill. ; 23 x 29 cm
Type:
Congresses
Place:
United States
Date:
1990
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Automobiles--Design and construction--Social aspects--History  Search this
Call number:
HE5623.R62 1990X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_396315

Rudy Cuellar Lowrider Posters

Donor:
Cuellar, Rudy  Search this
Creator:
Royal Chicano Air Force  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet (4 map folders)
Culture:
Latinos -- California  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Screen prints
Date:
1975-2016
Summary:
Collection consists of posters featuring lowrider imagery.
Content Description:
Posters for fundraisers, social actions, and community events for the Latino community of Northern California; all prominently feature lowrider imagery.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series.

Series 1: Posters, 1975-2016
Biographical:
Rudolfo "Rudy" Ojeda Cuellar was born and raised in Roseville, California. Rudy graduated from Roseville High School where he learned about screen printing, linoleum block printing and a deeper understanding of what being an artist was about. He enrolled at Sierra College, three miles from his hometown, where he was exposed to ceramics and cultural sculptural images. A friend helped him transfer to Sacramento State University where he met professors Jose Montoya and Esteban Villa and many other members of the Royal Chicano Artist group. At Sacramento State, he learned mask making, mold making, and silversmithing. From 1971 to 1979 he worked for Centro de Artistas Chicanos teaching at risk kids from the local school district screen printing skills, art and design and how to get along with one another. While working at the Centro de Artistas he taught and helped the other Royal Chicano Art Front members with the silk-screening process, and creating prints, signs and posters for other community events.

In 1980 Cuellar started Centro Screen Print & Associates with Louie "the Foot" Gonzalez (another founding member of RCAF). Rudy taught silk screening at Folsom State Prison and Louie became a rural mail carrier. His work as printer and as artist has been in numerous exhibits and publications such as Triumph of our Communities, Posada's Mexico 1979, CARA Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985 Wight Art Gallery – University of California, Los Angeles. Design in California and Mexico 1915 – 1985 and Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now. Cuellar was deeply influenced by his trips to Mexico and especially art teachers, counselors, and friends such as George Lem and Mr. Otis, John Adams, Juan Cervantes, and Stephan Kaltenbach that each taught him to never put boundaries on his quest to create Mexican and pre-Colombian images.
Historical:
The Rebel Chicano Art Front was created in 1969 by art professors José Montoya and Esteban Villa along with many other artists, activists, community organizers, poets, and teachers while at California State University, Sacramento. As artists and art students, they often loosely worked to support community events with creative endeavors. The group eventually came together under Joe Serna and was managed by Ricardo Favela in 1972 to form the Centro de Artistas Chicanos, an organization that provided much needed community space and support for after school arts programs, a library and bookstore, training programs, family and child programs such as Día de Los Muertos festivals, acting classes, and even an auto body repair training program. As part of the after-school arts program (and print shop), RCAF artists came together to teach community children about history and culture through art.

To supplement the meager city and private funds for the Centro, the artists organized art and gallery shows, art auctions, and sale of prints in the bookstore. As this collective of artists started having art shows, they would shorten their name to the "RCAF," often being confused with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Being a creative bunch, they changed their name from the Rebel Chicano Art Front to the Royal Chicano Air Force. They embraced this new identity/confusion, getting Army surplus clothing, and creating "ranks" of general or "creative mechanicos comsimcos" [cosmic mechanics] for everyone. They created a mythical origin story that states that they flew here from the mythical homeland of Aztlán in adobe airplanes. This playfulness broke down many social barriers in the barrio as well as within the larger Sacramento community and helped them tackle serious subjects through their programs and art.

The 1960's and 70's ushered in a wave of political and social awareness for communities of color. Community organizations around the country began advocating and organizing for more political and social empowerment as a counter to the discrimination, oppression, and neglect that many Chicanos (and other Latino communities) encountered. The GI Bill sent many Chicanos to college, opening young Chicano eyes to new ways to fight injustice. Many young social reformers started to take advantage of funds from the War on Poverty programs to establish community service organizations. Chicano and Latino artists were very aware of neglect and lack of representation in mainstream galleries and art institutions and started to rethink and reinvent cultural spaces. The RCAF was formed as a way to creatively instill pride, dignity, and respect for the Chicano community of Sacramento (Los Angeles Times, July 22, 1979 "Chicano Air Force Flies High").

In addition to the RCAF, other Latino groups and organizations formed during the late 1960's and 1970's in the Bay area such as the Mexican American Liberation Art Front, La Raza Graphics Center, and Artist Sies that cultivated artist collectives and artist support networks. Galleria de La Raza, the first Mexican American "museum" in the Bay area opened to encourage Chicano and Latino art within their own community. Throughout the country, Latinx artists and activists formed organizations and galleries such as Self-Help Graphics in Los Angeles. The East coast also saw their share of organizations develop such the Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia in 1972. In New York, the Taller Boriqua and El Museo de Barrio saw the Puerto Rican activist community grow and build their own galleries, arts spaces, and educational spaces to reach Latino communities in ways that traditional art and cultural centers did not.

Art, and the inexpensive silk screen process, became one of the fronts in the fight for community self-empowerment and advocacy. The traditions of mural and poster art in California were already very strong by the time RCAF was formed. In the 1930's, 40's, and 50's, African American and labor organizations had formed art workshops developing poster woodcut technique both as an art form and a way to advance political awareness. Art schools and colleges in California (and New York) organized artistic workshops to help combine art with social movements. The RCAF members also drew artistic and activist inspiration from a long tradition of printmaking in Mexico such as political and cultural artist José Posada in the 1890's and the Taller Grafica Popular in the 1930's. The reliance on silk screen poster art created a whole new movement and vocabulary of artistic forms, colors, and representations that drew from Mexican heritage but was also quick and easy to replicate. Artists like Montoya and Favela used these posters as their canvas to create a body of work that was bought and sold like other traditional art pieces, but was inexpensive to create and could relate and engage with the community not accustomed to gallery shows.

The silk screen process was eventually replaced by the screen print process, a technologic change that cut reliance on harmful chemicals, but still retained the "look and feel" of a DIY silk screen. However, what was crucial among RCAF were all the commissioned pieces, like these lowrider posters, that showcased how the artistic forms melded with community activism and documentation. While some of the artworks were bought and sold and made for art spaces, most art was primarily displayed in storefronts, restaurants, and community centers. The community and street space became the gallery that advertised United Farm Worker events, social justice gatherings, health initiatives, etc. The Chicano Civil rights movement succeeded and was sustained in part, by posters like these. The poster "transcended" the advertisement of events into a production of art. More importantly, these posters help document the Chicano movement, bridging community activism, art, advertisement, and social formation.

Source

Historical content note courtesy, Steve Velasquez, Curator, Division of Cultural and Community Life, National Museum of American History, August 13, 2020.
Related Materials:
Materials at the Smithsonian Institution

Archives of American Art

Roberto Sifuentes papers, circa 1988-2006, bulk 1993-2000. The papers document Chicano performance artist and educator Roberto Sifuentes.

Philip Brookman Papers, 1977-1993. The collection documents Brookman's exhibition, writing, and filmmaking projects in the form of artist files, exhibition files, professional files, and subject and research files. Much of the material concerns the production and distribution of Brookman's 1988 video documentary about Chicano art in California, Mi Otro Yo (My Other Self), that grew out of the exhibition and conference "Califas: An Exhibition of Chicano Art and Culture in California," held at University of California, Santa Cruz in 1981 and 1982.

National Museum of American History

Tomas Ybarra-Frausto Calendar Collection, NMAH.AC.0660

Lowrider "Dave's Dream," 1982. See accession: 1990.0567.

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Exhibition Records, circa 1983-1994 and undated. Accession 00-002. INcludes records for the exhibition American Encounters

Exhibition Records, 1970-1995. Accession 01-097. INcludes documentation for American Encounters Lowriders, 1992.

Productions, 1991-1994, 1997-1998. Accession 02-123. Includes Smithsonian Productions video program entitled, ""Spreading Beauty Wherever I Go," on the lowrider cars of New Mexico, 1992.

Productions, 1987, 1989, 1991-1993, 1997. Accession 02-202. Includes video footage for "Spreading Beauty Wherever I Go," on the "lowrider" cars of New Mexico.

Productions, 1991-2000. Accession 05-231. Includes video footage from the exhibit American Encounters Lowrider show, 1978 from the Museum of Fine Arts.

Materials at Other Organizations

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library

Lowrider collection, 1977-1982. Collection Number: 8098

University of San Diego, San Diego Lowriders Archival Project

The San Diego Lowrider Archival Project documents the history of lowriding in San Diego and the surrounding borderlands, from the 1950s through today. The project includes photographs, car club documents and memorabilia, official records, meeting minutes, dance posters and lowrider art.

University of Southern California, Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies

Lowrider magazine collection 0589

A collection of 56 issues of Lowrider magazine, along with three issues of Q-VO: A National Lowrider's Magazine -- all spanning from 1977 to 2003

UC Santa Barbara, Special Research Collections

Royal Chicano Air Force Archives, CEMA 8

Extensive collection of slides and silkscreen prints, along with administrative records, news clippings, correspondence, exhibition descriptions and flyers, photographs, creative writings, and miscellaneous publications of the Sacramento-based artists collective. Founding members of the RCAF include José Montoya, Esteban Villa, Juanishi V. Orosco, Ricardo Favela, and Rudy Cuellar.

UCLA Chicano Research Center

Alturas Films Records, CSRC.2018.009

Alturas Films is a film production company based in Emeryville, Californis. Founded by Rick Tejada-Flores, it specializes in documentaries that focus on overlooked topics in Latino and Latin American culture, many of which were broadcast on public television. Among its films are Low 'n Slow, Rivera in America, and Elvia.
Provenance:
Fifteen posters were purchased from Rudy Cuellar in 2021.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Occupation:
Graphic artists -- California  Search this
Topic:
Automobiles -- Social aspects -- United States  Search this
Hispanic American artists  Search this
Lowriders  Search this
Posters  Search this
Popular culture  Search this
Genre/Form:
Screen prints
Citation:
Rudy Cuellar Lowrider Posters, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1514
See more items in:
Rudy Cuellar Lowrider Posters
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep87d79ef1c-d62a-4a0a-9dc4-dd464a344dbd
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1514
Online Media:

Life is a highway art and American car culture Robin Reisenfeld, Eleanor Heartney

Author:
Heartney, Eleanor 1954- Automobile mon amour  Search this
Reisenfeld, Robin Art and American car culture  Search this
Host institution:
Toledo Museum of Art  Search this
Physical description:
119 pages illustrations 27 x 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Expositions
Exhibition catalogs
Place:
United States
États-Unis
Date:
2019
Topic:
Automobiles in art  Search this
Manners and customs in art  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Art and society  Search this
Automobiles dans l'art  Search this
Mœurs et coutumes dans l'art  Search this
Automobiles--Aspect social  Search this
Art et société  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1111546

The mechanical horse : how the bicycle reshaped American life / Margaret Guroff

Author:
Guroff, Margaret 1962-  Search this
Physical description:
287 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
History
Place:
United States
Date:
2016
Topic:
Bicycles--History  Search this
Cycling--Social aspects  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1059579

Inventing modern : growing up with x-rays, skyscrapers, and tailfins / John H. Lienhard

Author:
Lienhard, John H. 1930-  Search this
Subject:
Lienhard, John H. 1930- Childhood and youth  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 292 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
20th century
Topic:
Technological innovations--Social aspects--History  Search this
Technology--Social aspects--History  Search this
Science--Social aspects--History  Search this
Material culture--Social aspects--History  Search this
Civilization  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_720737

William Howard Taft and the first motoring presidency, 1909-1913 / by Michael L. Bromley

Author:
Bromley, Michael L  Search this
Subject:
Taft, William H (William Howard) 1857-1930 Views on automobiles  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 439 p. : ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
C2003
20th century
1909-1913
Topic:
Presidents  Search this
Automobiles--Political aspects--History  Search this
Automobile industry and trade--Political aspects--History  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_717489

Driving around the USA : automobiles in American life / Martin W. Sandler

Author:
Sandler, Martin W  Search this
Physical description:
63 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 22 X 27 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
C2003
Topic:
Transportation, Automotive  Search this
Transportation, Automotive--Social aspects  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_724391

American cities and the coming of the automobile, 1870-1910 / by Clay McShane. --

Author:
McShane, Clay  Search this
Physical description:
xvii, 325, [1] leaves : ill
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1976
1975
Topic:
Urban transportation--History  Search this
City planning  Search this
Local transit  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Call number:
HE308 .M17
HE308.M17
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_92089

Mobility without mayhem : safety, cars, and citizenship / Jeremy Packer

Author:
Packer, Jeremy 1970-  Search this
Physical description:
ix, 349 p. : ill ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2008
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Motor vehicles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_919282

How users matter : the co-construction of users and technology / edited by Nelly Oudshoorn and Trevor Pinch

Author:
Oudshoorn, Nelly 1950-  Search this
Pinch, T. J (Trevor J.)  Search this
Physical description:
360 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
2005
2003
Topic:
Technology--Social aspects  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1047379

Republic of drivers : a cultural history of automobility in America / Cotten Seiler

Author:
Seiler, Cotten  Search this
Physical description:
x, 230 p. : ill ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2008
20th century
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
National characteristics, American  Search this
Social values--History  Search this
Social conditions  Search this
Civilization  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_921932

Risk : negotiating safety in American society / Arwen P. Mohun

Author:
Mohun, Arwen 1961-  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 329 pages ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2013
Topic:
Public safety  Search this
Risk assessment--Public opinion  Search this
Emergency management  Search this
Accidents--Social aspects  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1047320

The Car and the city : the automobile, the built environment, and daily urban life / edited by Martin Wachs and Margaret Crawford ; with the assistance of Susan Marie Wirka and Taina Marjatta Rikala

Author:
Wachs, Martin  Search this
Crawford, Margaret 1948-  Search this
Physical description:
xx, 325 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
California
Los Angeles Region
Date:
1992
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Urban ecology--History  Search this
City and town life--History  Search this
Call number:
HE5623.C33 1992X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_424560

The diffusion of the automobile in the United States : 1895-1969 / by George Kirkham Jarvis

Author:
Jarvis, George Kirkham 1935-  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 303 leaves ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1996
1972
Topic:
Automobile industry and trade--History  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Call number:
HD9710.U52 J38 1972a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_492815

The car culture / James J. Flink

Author:
Flink, James J  Search this
Physical description:
x, 260 p. ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1975
[1975]
Topic:
Automobiles--History  Search this
Automobile industry and trade--History  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Call number:
TL23 .F572X
TL23.F572X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_49466

Down the asphalt path : the automobile and the American city / Clay McShane

Author:
McShane, Clay  Search this
Physical description:
xvii, 288 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1994
C1994
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
City and town life  Search this
Sociology, Urban  Search this
Call number:
HE5623 .M35 1994X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_464508

Getting there : the epic struggle between road and rail in the American century / by Stephen B. Goddard

Author:
Goddard, Stephen B. 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 351 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1994
C1994
20th century
Topic:
Transportation, Automotive--History  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Roads--History  Search this
Railroads--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_473568

Highways to heaven : the auto biography of America / Christopher Finch

Author:
Finch, Christopher  Search this
Physical description:
416 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1991
C1991
Topic:
Automobiles--Social aspects--History  Search this
Call number:
HE5623.F56 1991X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_425682

The age of asphalt : the automobile, the freeway, and the condition of metropolitan America / Richard O. Davies

Author:
Davies, Richard O  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 139 p. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1975
[1975]
Topic:
Transportation, Automotive  Search this
Urban transportation  Search this
Automobiles--Social aspects  Search this
Call number:
HE5623 .D27X
HE5623.D27X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_49393

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