Jimmie Durham overall portfolio (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Particle/Word Theory 2020 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Songs of My Childhood | Part One: Songs to Get Rid Of, Part Two: Songs to Keep 2014 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Pissing in Germany 2012 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham In the Air, long before Archeology 2008 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Mäßige Materialfehler 2000 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Electric 1995 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham Resurrection 1995 (PDF)
Jimmie Durham was born in 1940 in the US; he died in 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
He took his first artistic steps in the 60s in the fields of theatre, literature, and performance in the progressive African American circles in Texas. There, he worked with the Afro-American poet Vivian Ayers and performed with Mohamed Ali.
In 1968 he moved to Geneva and enrolled at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. During that period, he made performative, sometimes sculptural work. Together with three other sculptors, he formed the Draga group which explored how art can become more integrated into public life.
In 1973, he returned to the US to join the American Indian Movement with whom he remained politically active until 1980. He co-established the International Indian Treaty Council, was involved in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 and became the Treaty Council’s representative at the United Nations – the first official representative of a minority group within the organisation.
In 1980 he returned to art. As an essayist, he remained concerned with the image of Native Americans and his artwork from this period both reflects and thematises this attitude, although it displays both a broader reflective quality and a stronger visual expression. Typical examples are his works with animal skulls.
During this time, Durham gained notoriety within the New York art scene, but found that his work was viewed as “Indian art” and it failed to encourage fundamental – political or artistic – discussions. In 1987, he left the US to live in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he remained until his move back to Europe in 1994.
This period was particularly fruitful in terms of international exhibitions. In 1988 he created Pocahontas and the Little Carpenter for Matt’s Gallery in London; had an exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York in 1992; and in 1993, the work A Certain Lack of Coherence travelled from the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London to the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and the Kunstverein Hamburg. In 1992, Jan Hoet invited him as one of the key artists to Documenta IX in Kassel. For this, he created a large ensemble entitled Approach in Love and Fear, consisting of several sculptures and texts.
Jimmie Durham continued to write essays as part of his practice, many of which were published in magazines such as Artforum, Art Journal, and Third Text, as well as in various books. The 1993 publication A Certain Lack of Coherence, published by Kala Press, brings together a collection of his essays.
Since turning away from the Americas in 1994 and permanently moving to Europe, Jimmie Durham opposed two foundations of the European tradition: religion and architecture. Another theme that developed in many of his works was his vision of Europe, which he called Eurasia; Jimmie Durham saw himself as a “homeless Eurasian orphan”. In Europe, he successively lived in Brussels, Marseille, Rome, before spending his last years alternating between Berlin and Naples.
His work has been exhibited in several, key international locations: dOCUMENTA (13) and documenta IX in Kassel; the Venice Biennale in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2013 and 2019 where he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement; at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Whitney Museum, New York; at Serpentine Gallery, London; at M HKA, Antwerp; at Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; in Marseille, The Hague and Gateshead; Sydney Biennial in 2004; Whitney Biennial in 1993, amongst others. In 2016 he was awarded the prestigious Goslarer Kaiserring. Jimmie Durham is among the artists selected for documenta fifteen in 2022.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Museo Madre, Naples, Italy
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, US
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, US
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, US
Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland
M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium
Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany
Wittgenstein Haus, Vienna, Austria
Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, Belgium
Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
ICA, London, UK
Kunstverein Hamburg, Germany
FRAC, Reims, France
Jimmie Durham. At the Center of the World. Los Angeles et al. 2017
Particle/Word Theory. Wiens Verlag & Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Berlin & London 2020
Poems That Do Not Go Together. Wiens Verlag & Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Berlin & London 2012
Material. 100 Notes, No. 049, dOCUMENTA (13). Kassel / Ostfildern 2011
Rejected Stones / Pierres rejetées. Paris 2009
The Second Particle Wave Theory. Sunderland 2006
The American West. Comton Verney 2005 (Editor)
Between the furniture and the building / between a rock and a hard place. Köln 1998
Der Verführer und der Steinerne Gast. Wien 1996
Jimmie Durham. London 1995 (Monograph)
Kolja Reichert Seiner Eleganz kann man sich nicht entziehen. Lockerungen für den Eurozentrismus: Der Künstler und Schriftsteller Jimmie Durham wird achtzig, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nr. 158, 10. Juli 2020, S. 12
Jimmie Durham’s art throws some well-aimed stones, Los Angeles Times, February 2017
Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World review – America’s native son finally comes home, The Guardian, February 2017