Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World is the first US retrospective of the work of one of the most compelling and multifaceted artists working internationally today. A visual artist, performer, poet, essayist, and activist, Durham (b. 1940, Washington, Arkansas) has for more than 40 years explored the potential of art to question ingrained cultural belief systems. Calling himself an “interventionist,” he has consistently made work that examines the notion of citizenship, the interface between art and activism, and the role of art and artists in society. Durham’s expansive practice spans sculpture, drawing, collage, photography, video, performance, and poetry and is noteworthy for its use of language and distinctive wit.
After studying art in Geneva and working for the American Indian Movement, Durham became part of the vibrant New York City downtown art scene in the 1980s. He immigrated in 1987—first to Mexico and then to Europe, where he has lived since 1994—and has rarely exhibited in the United States over the past 20 years. Since his participation in Documenta IX (1992), however, his work has been widely shown and critically embraced in Europe. Yet his work remains connected to crucial developments in American art, such as found-object assemblage, appropriation, institutional critique, and the politics of representation. Durham’s art provides a singular and vital perspective on such topics as genocide, exile, and statehood. Featuring nearly 200 works dating from 1970 to the present, At the Center of the World provides an opportunity for audiences to gain a deeper understanding of, or perhaps encounter for the first time, the richly rewarding work of this complex and influential artist. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Anne Ellegood, senior curator, with MacKenzie Stevens, curatorial assistant. Following the Hammer Museum and the Walker Art Center presentations, the exhibition will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Walker Art Center Coordinating Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis with Misa Jeffereis