Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham is born in 1940 in the U.S.

He takes his first artistic steps in the field of theatre, literature and performance in the progressive African-American circles in Texas in the 60’s. He works with the Afro-American poet Vivian Ayers and does a performance with Mohamed Ali.

In 1968 he moves to the then very international Geneva, where he enrols at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. During that period he makes performative, sometimes sculptural work. Together with three other sculptors, he forms the Draga group which explores how art can become more integrated into public life.

In 1973, he returns to the U.S. to become involved in the American Indian Movement, and remains politically active until 1980. He co-establishes the International Indian Treaty Council, is involved in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, and is ultimately made the representative of the Indians to the United Nations – the first official representative of a minority within the organisation.

In 1980 he returns to art. As an essayist, he remains concerned with the image of Native Americans and his art work 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 the works with animal skulls.

Durham gains notoriety within the New York art scene, but finds that his work is seen as "Indian art" and fails to encourage fundamental – political or artistic – discussions. In 1987, he leaves the U.S. and goes to live in Cuernavaca, Mexico – where he stays until he moves back to Europe in 1994.

It is a period with many international exhibitions. In 1988 he creates Pocahontas and the Little Carpenter for Matt’s Gallery in London; he has an exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York in 1992, and the work Original Re-Runs a.k.a. A Certain Lack of Coherence travels in 1993 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 invites him as one of the key artists in the Documenta IX exhibition in Kassel. He creates a large ensemble entitled Approach in Love and Fear, consisting of several sculptures and texts.

The essays that Jimmie Durham continues to write and publish in magazines such as Artforum, Art Journal, and Third Text, as well as in various books are collected in the 1993 publication A Certain Lack of Coherence, a collection of his essays published by Kala Press.

Since turning away from the Americas in 1994 and permanently moving to Europe, Jimmie Durham has opposed two foundations of the European tradition: religion and architecture. Another theme that since has emerged in many of his works is his vision of Europe, which he calls Eurasia – Jimmie Durham sees himself as a ’homeless Eurasian orphan’. In Europe, he has successively lived in Brussels, Marseille, Rome and now alternately in Berlin and Naples.

His work can be seen in several international key locations: the dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel; the Biennials of Venice in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005; in Marseille, The Hague and Gateshead (England) (in the retrospective film From the West Pacific to the East Atlantic), at the Sidney Biennial in 2004, the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (in the retrospective Pierres rejetées ... [Stones Rejected ...]) ...

Selected Solo Exhibitions

dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany
Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent, Belgium
Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium
ICA, London, UK
Hamburg Kunstverein, Germany
FRAC, Reims, France
Wittgenstein Haus, Vienna, Austria
Whitney Biennial, New York, USA
Kunstverein, Munich, Germany
Venice Biennale, Italy
Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (retrospective), France
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA
Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland

Particle/Word Theory.104 pp., 12 images of drawings, 21.5 x 14 cm, thread stiched. Wiens Verlag & Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Berlin & London, 2020.

Poems That Do Not Go Together. 124 S., 20.5 x14cm, Fadenheftg, broschiert. Wiens Verlag und Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Berlin und London 2012

Material. 100 Notes, No. 049, dOCUMENTA (13), Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011. Kassel/Ostfildern.

Amoxohtli. Libro de Carretera. A Road Book. (Engl., Spanisch, Nahuatl) Verlag der Buchhandlung König; Auflage: Pap/DVD Bl (30. September 2011). Köln. 226 Seiten

Rejected Stones" / Pierres rejetées" . Kat. (Frz./Engl.). Hrsg. v. Musée d‘ art moderne de la Ville de Paris. Texte v. Pascal Beausse, Sandra Cattini, Anselm Franke, Anri Sala u.a. sowie ein Interview v. Julia Garimorth & Laurence Bossé mit Jimmie Durham. 232 S., zahlr. Abb., 32.5 x 25 cm, Ln.. Paris 2009
(Überblickskat. zur großen Retrospektive Durhams im Musée d‘ art moderne de la ville de Paris. Enthält eine Chronologie seiner Arbeiten in der Ausstellung sowie einen Abbildungsteil der Arbeiten von 1992 - 2008 umfaßt.)

_The Second Particle Wave Theory. (Engl.). Hrsg. v. Robert Blackson & Candice Hopkins. 80 S., 40 farb., 17 s/w Abb., 26x21, Ppdg.. Sunderland 2006

_The American West. Kat. (Engl.). Kuratoren: Jimmie Durham und Richard Hill. Texte von Jimmie Durham, Jean Fisher, Bonnie Fultz, Jen Budney, Simon Ortiz, Richard William Hill. 176 S., 150 meist farb.Abb., 30x24, Ln., Schutzumschlag. Auswahlbibliographie. Comton Verney 2005
(The myth of the "West" began when traders and fur trappers made way for frontier cowboys and settlers who sought a land of opportunity and "freedom". Driving the myth were economic, political and religious pressures for expansion, which had a devasting effect on the American Indian population. The essays and the works in the catalogue explore the ways these myths were constructed.Alongside the historical work is a selection of the innovative work being created by contemporary artists.)

_Jimmie Durham. Kat. (Engl./Ital.). Mit Texten v. Durham, Anna Daneri, Roberto Pinto u.a.. 160 S., zahlr. s/w & farb. Abb., 21x14,5, brosch.. Milano 2004
(Umfangreicher Werkkatalog, der Durhams Aktionen und Projekte der letzten Jahre vorstellt.)

_Between the furniture and the building / between a rock and a hard place. (Dt./Engl.). ca. 200 S., 23x15,5, brosch.. Köln 1998 (= Kunstwiss. Biblioth. Bd. 9) (beim Vlg. vergriffen)
(Texte & Zeichnungen von Durham.)

_Der Verführer und der Steinerne Gast. (Dt.). 125 S., 42 s/w Abb., 21,5x16, Ppdg..
Wien 1996
(Von Durham gestaltetes Künstlerbuch, wie auch "Between the furniture...".)

_Jimmie Durham. (Engl.). Text v. Laura Mulvay, Interview: Dirk Snauwaert. Texte von Durham. 160 S, 120 farb. Abb., 29x25, brosch.. London 1995

EDITION in Wiens Verlag:

Jimmie Durham
"Mäßige Materialfehler"
9 Radierungen (42x32) und ein Text in Mappe
Auflage 6 arab. & 6 röm. Blatt für Blatt num. & sign. Exemplare, Berlin 2000
not available anymore

Die Grafikmappe "Mäßige Materialfehler" enthält 9 Radierungen und einen offsetgedruckten Text. Jimmie Durham im Text der Mappe: "Scratching words backwards into a hard surface is an odd experience. It makes clear that written language is drawing - and that, like stone tools it comes from work and play. I think that language does not begin with the desire to name things, but with the need to describe action: "Search", "Help", "Run", "Come", "Dance", "Work".