EXHIBITION: Jimmie Durham: arts, media and sports
VENUE: Sprovieri Gallery, 27 Heddon Street, London
DATES: 8 October – 27 November
OPENING: 7 October 6 – 8pm
Sprovieri Gallery is delighted to present arts, media and sports, an exhibition
of new works by American performance artist, sculptor, poet, writer and
political activist Jimmie Durham.
This is Durham’s first collaboration with Sprovieri Gallery, and is a development
from his recent assemblage Spring Fever at Tatton Park, as part of the Tatton Park
Biennial 2010 and the Universal Miniature Golf exhibition at the Glasgow Sculpture
Studios, held as part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010.
An assemblage of displaced and seemingly leaky oil drums refer to Durham’s
personal history as a Cherokee, highlighting the struggle of the Native Americans to
keep their traditional grounds in America. While oil drums have a universal
relevance, with the petroleum they contain infiltrating almost all human activity –
from the manufacture of clothes to birthday candles, and its place in all forms of
communication – for Durham they are also linked to the enforced movement of the
Cherokee people by the US government:
Durham: “I have a more personal connection to petroleum in that when the US drove
my people from our old home in the Carolinas they allowed us land in Oklahoma. In
little more than fifty years that land was also taken away and soon became the first
large oilfield. Today the Cherokees are the second largest Native American group,
but with no reservation, no land base at all.”
arts, media and sports also focuses on the story of the Mohawk warrior and artist
Joe David, one of the leaders in the demonstrations in Quebec that were sparked by
a move to expand a nine hole golf course onto an ancestral Mohawk burial site. The
78-day “Oka Crisis” in the 1990s became one of the most highly publicized
confrontations between the Canadian government and the First Nation’s People. In
Scotland similar issues continue to resonate today as (for example) local residents
are threatened with forced eviction in order to make way for the International Trump
Organisation’s luxury gold resort in rural Aberdeenshire.
Though imbued with political relevance, the work also manifests a typically Durham
sense of humour. Text-based pieces play with Scottish historical and cultural
figures, many scavenged by Durham from his immediate surroundings.
Jimmie Durham is a sculptor, essayist and poet. He was born in the USA in 1940. He
began working as a sculptor in 1963.
In 1969 Durham moved to Europe and studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Geneva.
Along with three other sculptors he formed a group, Draga, which researched ways
to allow the plastic arts more access to public life. At the same time, along with a
Mapuche Indian from Chile and a Quechua Indian from Bolivia, he formed an
organization, Incomindios, which attempted to coordinate and encourage support
for the struggle of Indians of the Americas. In 1973, Durham returned to the US to
become a full-time organizer in the American Indian Movement (AIM). During this
time he served as director of the International Indian Treaty Council and
representative to the United Nations. In the early 1980s Durham returned his
attention to art in New York City.
In 1987 Durham moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he was based until moving to
Europe in 1994. During his time in Mexico, Durham began to exhibit internationally,
including at the Whitney Biennial, Documenta IX, ICA London, Exit Art, New York, the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp and the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. He
also published a number of essays in books and periodicals, including Art Forum,
Art Journal and Third Text. In 1995, A Certain Lack of Coherence , a collection of his
essays, was published by Kala Press.
His exhibitions in Europe have included venues such as the Musée d’Art Moderne de
la Ville de Paris (solo), Musée d’Art Contemporain in Marseilles (solo), Museum Voor
Actuele Kunst in den Hague (solo), Hamburg Kunstverein (solo), FRAC in Reims
(solo), SMAK Museum in Ghent, Wittgenstein Haus in Vienna (solo), Kunstverein
Munich (solo), and the Venice Biennale (1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005), Whitney
Biennale (1993 and 2006) among many others. In 1995 Phaidon published Jimmie
Durham, a comprehensive survey of his art. In 2009, on the occasion of Durham’s
retrospective at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Pierres rejetées , a
catalogue of Durham’s work in Europe was published.
Further details for Sprovieri Gallery London: www.sprovieri.com
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Saturday; Admission Free
Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus