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Lowrider cars these days are far more than tricked-out automobiles with gravity-challenged rear suspensions and ear-rattling exhaust systems that seem to cry out for local cops to ticket the drivers.While museumgoers have learned to appreciate these creatures that sprang from the garages of American teenagers in the years after World War II, lowrider historian Denise Sandoval says the eye-popping, airbrushed paintings, plush interiors and chrome-plated wheels and engines that have come to define them have quietly fomented something more – a new genre of contemporary art.Placed alongside these V-8-powered treasures are dozens of paintings and other museum works created by such prominent gallery artists as Gilbert "Magu" Lujan and Frank Romero, who form half of the contemporary art world's Los Four – the first Chicano artists group to have a showing at a major institution, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in 1974 .The result makes the car appear as a hybrid lowrider-hot rod, something Sandoval says the artist was going for.Other paintings, drawings, photos and serigraphs show lowrider street scenes from around the U.S. Southwest, illustrating that – as Sandoval has long maintained – while places from Espanola, New Mexico, to East Los Angeles have claimed to be the birthplace of lowriding, it appears to have sprung up spontaneously across the postwar Southwest.
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