James Luna: The Dream Hat Ritual Artist Project Series

Main Gallery Jun 15–Aug 25, 1996

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James Luna: The Dream Hat Ritual Artist Project Series
Jun 15–Aug 25, 1996





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The Dream Hat Ritual, 1996
The Dream Hat Ritual, 1996, Installation view, Santa Monica Museum of Art

A video, sculpture, and sound installation by Native American artist James Luna, The Dream Hat Ritual represented a ceremonial site, replete with willow branches and a ”bonfire” created from stacked video monitors. Luna, a self-described ”high-tech Indian storyteller,” created an environment using slide projections, pop music, bird sounds, videos, and theatrical lighting effects that contrasted romantic and historical perceptions of Native American culture with modern-day, ”real-life” sounds and images. Within this environment, life-sized figures made from cowboy hats, crutches, hairpieces, and boots suggested the physical hardships faced by Native American communities whose populations are ravaged by infirmities related to diabetes and alcoholism.