Bernie's Recommendation: Cruisin' Califas at the Oceanside Museum of Art

May 15, 2012

So while pulling my weave out looking for something to post, I came across something interesting. Another side to me is that I do love going to museums, and quite often, museums do have exhibits dedicated to automobiles. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, lies a city called Oceanside, and within that city is a gem called the Oceanside Museum of Art (or OMA). OMA realized how important Lowriding is to Los Angeles culture (side note: even I knew that, and I'm New York to the heart) and how LA is the Lowrider Capital of the World. This past weekend was the opening weekend to Cruisin' Califas: The Art of Lowriding, the exhibit that's dedicated to art of lowriders.

CRUISIN' CALIFAS Art Show (Photo by Kid Duece)

According to the Oceanside Museum of Art,
"The title of the exhibition, Cruisin’ Califas, refers to Lowrider culture in California and the favorite pastime of the Lowrider – cruising! Califas is a slang term that refers to California amongst the Latino culture with roots that going back to the mythological land of Calafia that inspired the naming of California. Largely associated with the rise of the automobile industry and the post WWII manufacturing boom, Lowriders became a popular way for people, mostly without the means to purchase a brand new car, to express their individuality and cultural pride. Lowrider describes a car that is customized with a hydraulic setup to be low to the ground, with an elaborate paint job that often includes pin striping and lettering, with striking chrome features, and uniquely designed upholstery. Classic cars such as Chevrolet Impalas and Master Deluxes are often associated with this culture, but today, any type of vehicle can be transformed into a Lowrider, from motorcycles to bicycles, SUV’s and tricycles. Reaching farther then cars; this phenomenon has become a way of life for many people, influencing the style of the artists involved in this exhibition."

(Photo by EO)
(Photo by JB)

And you know that artwork of Estevan Oriol and Jae Bueno will be a part of the collection... Thank God. I said Thank God, because to have a collection about Lowriders and not feature the work of Oriol- whose body of work is greatly influenced by Los Angeles culture and Bueno- the one person whose work you can count on seeing in Lowrider Magazine and who shoots Car Shows in the Southwestern Part of the US. I honestly think Jae Bueno has photographed every lowrider that is in the Southwest. And you have to respect the both of them, and I tip my NY Yankees hat to them.

CRUISIN' CALIFAS Art Show (Photo by Kid Duece)

This exhibit will be at the museum from May 13 - September 30, 2012, so hopefully, HOPEFULLY, I will make it to LA to see this. But if you live in LA or San Diego and love lowriders-- or cars in general, haul ass down the 5, and get there. Because you may know a lot about Lowriders, but I'm sure you can learn something at this exhibit.

CRUISIN' CALIFAS Art Show (photo by Kid Deuce)

The photo above is the prime example why I respect Lowriders so much. I did not personally know the owner of this vehicle, but I understand that he's in a much better place and isn't suffering (Bernie doesn't deal with death well). I've said this plenty, plenty of times on this site. The main reason why I respect Lowriders simply because of the attention of detail that the owners put into their car. The engraving is serious. And since I do have a design background, I can and do appreciate that level of intricate detail. No matter how hard you try, you can't throw together a Lowrider- it takes serious thought.

I'm still getting a Lowrider Plaque that says Bernie and I want Estevan Oriol to photograph me with it. My mind works fast and while typing this, I just came up with the photo shoot.

P.S. My favorite museum of all time is the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and I do think that the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is not a real museum. The High Museum sucks.

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