Segments in this Video

Idealization of the American Southwest (04:33)


At the turn of the 19th century, Pueblo Indians in Taos, New Mexico, continue to live harmoniously with their Hispanic neighbors. Powerful images of the American West emerge in paintings that idealize and romanticize the Southwest.

Artists' Fascination with Pueblo Indians (03:44)

In Taos, Pueblo Indians continued to live as their ancestors had, and they attracted the interest of artists from around the world as perfect subjects of an idealized way of life. This segment examines the early 20th-century Taos Society of Artists.

Romantic Idealization of Southwest Indians (04:31)

This segment features the work of E. Irving Couse (1866-1936), whose fascination with Southwest Indians left a legacy of idealized images and a large collection of Indian artifacts.

Influence of Religion in the American Southwest (05:37)

The Catholic Church influences Southwest Indians to accept its teachings and fascinates artists who document the integration of Catholicism and Indian spiritualism--some of which continues today.

Modernist Views of Indigenous American Cultures (03:12)

A second wave of artists, the Modernists, is drawn to the Southwest, including Mable Dodge Luhan, who welcomed intellectuals and artists into her "salon" to discuss the most modern ideas. Among them was D.H. Lawrence.

Taos Valley: Bohemia of the West (03:54)

By the 1920s, the abstract patterns of primitive Indian art influence Modernist painters. This segment features paintings of abstractionist and surreal artists. Taos attracted writers, intellectuals, and artists to its "Bohemian" atmosphere.

Dust Bowl: Art and Film (04:35)

The over-plowed land of the Midwest led to the Dust Bowl, many images of which are immortalized in paintings by regionalist painters Thomas Hart Benson, John Steuart Curry, and others. Film excerpts: "The Plow that Broke the Earth."

Dust Bowl: Photography (03:59)

Photography alerted the American public to the tragedy in their midst and documented the details of what was happening to the land. Photographers featured: Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, and others. Film excerpts: "The Grapes of Wrath."

America's Collective Memory: A Usable Past (02:49)

In 1939, America looked forward and had little use for the past, but was there a usable past? The murals of Thomas Hart Benson helped put people back in touch with their heroic, but unromanticized roots.

Hispanic Artists (03:01)

Hispanic murals across the Southwest tell the story of America from a different point of view and present images of hope and despair. This segment features the sculpture of Luis Jimenez.

Native American Art Revolution (05:15)

By the 1960s, many Native Americans are tired of being "curiosities" and relics of the past. A revolution of art, referred as "pop" Indian, attracted students from around the U.S. Featured artist: T.C. Cannon.

Myths and Images of the West (04:34)

Randy Lee White searches for the roots of Native American myths. His paintings reframe history into Indian history, including the story of Christ as an Indian myth. The American Dream endures as a quest for its past, present, and future.

Postlude: West as American Identity (03:01)

Narrator James Whitmore and film series creator William Goetzmann discuss images and myths of the West and the evolution of Native American art. Goetzmann predicts that the Western myths will continue as part of America's identity.

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Enduring Dreams

Part of the Series : The West of the Imagination
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Through wars, depressions, and social upheavals, the West has accommodated to change while remaining a mythical land of freedom and possibility. The ghosts of the buffalos are still stirring. Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood have given way to Native American artists; Indians—once the subjects of painting—have become its practitioners. So the myth regenerates itself and the American consciousness and the American dream are reshaped and redefined. (57 minutes)

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL1107

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0545-5

Copyright date: ©1986

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.