Jimmie Durham

1940 - 2021

Lives in Berlin (DE), born in US.

Jimmie Durham was born in 1940 in (or, as he himself says, ‘under’) the state of Arkansas in the US, into a Cherokee family. After working different jobs he studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva in the early 1970s before joining the American Indian Movement during the confrontation with US federal forces at Wounded Knee in 1973. Durham became Director of the International Indian Treaty Council and its representative to the UN throughout the 1970s. He is one of very few leading contemporary artists to have such hands-on experience of political work. In New York in the early 1980s he returned to art, and in the years around 1990 he lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In 1994 he moved back to Europe. Now he lives in Berlin and Naples. Durham has gained a considerable international following since he participated in Documenta 9 in 1992. His prominent presence in Documenta 13 in 2012 only proved this. Durham’s work has been crucial, not just to the emergence of a truly global and multi-polar art world but also to strengthening the bond between visual art and thinking that may determine the future of the whole endeavour of art. His sculptures, installations, drawings and videos are very political operations involving both object, image and text. They analyse, critique and tell stories. But they do not ask questions. In American indigenous tradition that is to be avoided whenever possible. 



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