The Art of Peter Aschwanden: For the Compleat Idiot

On display through May 04, 2025

Explore the artistic legacy of Peter Aschwanden, the man who brought humor and humanity to car repair manuals!

April 4, 2024  through May 1, 2025

New Mexico History Museum, Palace of the Governors, Room 1

This exhibition, titled "The Art of Peter Aschwanden: For the Compleat Idiot," celebrates the unique career of New Mexico-based artist, Peter Aschwanden. Aschwanden is best known for his iconic illustrations in John Muir’s best-selling book, "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot."

Immerse yourself in Aschwanden’s playful world! The exhibition showcases large-scale reproductions of his artwork, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the intricate details of his playful and unconventional style, which channeled the whimsical energy of the 1960s. While other artists dominated the counterculture scene, Aschwanden quietly built a prolific and influential career in an unexpected place: car repair manuals.

Included in the exhibit are draft spreads from a forthcoming limited-edition book dedicated to Aschwanden and produced by New Mexico History Museum’s Palace Press. These will be displayed alongside the oversized reproductions of Aschwanden’s iconic car repair illustrations.

The exhibit also showcases award-winning publications produced by the Palace Press, highlighting the museum’s ongoing commitment to artistic excellence. Be sure to visit the Palace Press and experience the printing process firsthand at the working press across the courtyard from the Aschwanden exhibit!

Featured Exhibitions