Bajito y Suavecito. Low and Slow. These words capture the innovation and creativity of lowriding as an American cultural practice. Lowriding has a style and art which is distinctly its own. It is more than just customized cars; it is a "way of life." Family, honor, pride, and respect are more than just words, they are social codes of lowrider car clubs and the boulevards. These words are also the building blocks of the history and spirit of a cultural expression that today crosses regional, national, and international boundaries.
The Politics of Low and Slow focuses on Chicano lowrider culture in Los Angeles and seeks to complicate and unpack this "way of life" for viewers. Who and what makes a culture? How do people use culture and art as tools to tell their stories and build community? More importantly, what does lowriding teach us about Chicana/o/x history in LA?
In many ways, lowriding in Mexican American/Chicano communities is both writing our own "American" stories (through cars) and responding to U.S. historical forces of prejudice and discrimination through cultural resistance. "Low and Slow" is not only a leisure activity, but a system of cultural knowledge grounded in the everyday practices of urban life lived in the streets and boulevards of our Chicana/o/x communities. We invite you to explore this exhibition with hopes it leaves you with a better understanding of lowrider culture, and inspires a new generation of researchers to collect stories in the boulevards of the past, present, and future.
¡Bajito y Suavecito Por Vida!
Denise M. Sandoval, Ph.D.,
Professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies
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