Historic Santa Fe Foundation presents the May Salon El Zaguán monthly lecture series with Don Usner on Lowriders of Northern New Mexico at 3 p.m. Friday, May 10 at Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s El Zaguán, 545 Canyon Road, Ste 2 in Santa Fe.
The talk will be held in conjunction with the opening and artist reception for the exhibition Don Usner: Lowriders 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 10. The exhibition will continue through May 31. The reception is free to the public.
About The Exhibition
Lowriders — a term used to refer to the cars as well as their owners — have been around since at least the 1940s and have found a particular resonance with Northern New Mexicans, especially in the Española Valley. So distinctive and pervasive was the lowrider culture here in the 1970s and ‘80s that MTV declared Española the “lowrider capital of the world”— a claim that not everyone would endorse, especially lowriders in the major centers of lowrider culture in East LA and other urban areas, but the reputation stuck. The cars are less visible on the streets these days but remain an essential element of the ethos of “El Norte.” Usner will present a collection of prints from his work photographing lowriders over the past several years in Northern New Mexico. Through the photographs, Usner aims to convey a sense, not only of the cars, but also of the people who build and drive them.
About The Salon Talk
Don J. Usner will talk about his immersion in lowrider culture over the past several years and will present a slideshow of images he has taken of the cars and their owners at car shows and in garages around Northern New Mexico. He will describe the evolution of his thinking about the lowrider phenomenon from the perspective of one who grew up in New Mexico, but kept lowriders at a distance through much of his upbringing. He will also introduce a lowrider from Española who has built and painted many lowriders over the past 40 years. The car owner may bring his “ride” to the opening, weather permitting, and he will describe his process in building the car as well as his journey as a lowrider since childhood.
Don J. Usner
About The Speaker:
Don J. Usner was born in Embudo, New Mexico, and grew up in Los Alamos and Chimayó. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a master’s degree in geography at the University of New Mexico. He has authored and provided the photographs for several books, including Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza; Benigna’s Chimayó: Cuentos from the Old Plaza; Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve (winner of a Southwest Book Award in 2006); Chasing Dichos through Chimayó (a finalist for a 2015 New Mexico—Arizona Book Award); and Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico. Usner has also published articles and photographs in serial publications, and recent public exhibitions of his photography include prints in the shows “Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico” at the New Mexico History Museum; and in “Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders,” at the New Mexico Museum of Art.