Jimmie Durham, A Fountain in Case Your Roof Leaks, 1996,
Courtesy of Christine Koenig Galerie, Vienna

Jimmie Durham’s exhibitions at the
Swiss Institute in New York,
and MuHKA in Antwerp

March 21 2012
4:04 PM

Maquette for a Museum of Switzerland” at the Swiss Institute, is Jimmie Durham’s staging of a museological display. Assuming the role of an anthropologist, the artist builds his own museum of Switzerland in New York, displaying a collection of statues, relics and masks. Switzerland’s folklore is juxtaposed with the long-standing traditions of watchmaking, banking and Schnapps. The show expands on the issues that have always preoccupied Durham. A former activist for the American Native Indian movement, the artist continues his self-critical exploration of colonialism and the reconsideration of taxonomy, cultural authority and nationalist ideologies. Approached with irony, the exhibition is, nevertheless, far from empty satire, attesting to Durham’s former claim: “I don’t want to make cynical or pessimistic work, because that’s naive. So if I want to be against instruction and belief but want to still contribute to liberation, I have to use whatever means seem human at the context. So the irony I try to use is never cynical or mocking, it’s another kind of interruption.” Simultaneously with the Swiss Institute show, the most comprehensive retrospective of Durham’s work to date opens its doors at MuHKA in Antwerp. The survey provides an exhaustive exploration of Durham’s multifaceted practice through a display of previously unpublished texts, recordings and objects. (Marta Jecu)

Older posts