Maynard Dixon, 1931
Through the dances are united body and soul, and self with the community, and self and tribe with nature and God.” –John Collier, Native American advocate
Dixon’s simplified forms, bright colors, and rhythmic patterns create a magical ambiance around the Taos Indian ritual dance invoking otherworldly intervention. Dixon viewed Native American life and rituals as simple, non-corrupt, and connected to the natural world. Dixon witnessed this ritual dance on Christmas Eve, 1931 in Taos, New Mexico on the same occasion that he saw the pageant portrayed in his Christmas Eve Procession, also on view in this exhibition. At this time, the United States government attempted to ban Native American ritual dances in order to “civilize” native cultures.