Jimmie Durham, sculptor who explored Indigenous themes, dies at 81

Mr. Durham also loved to work with shards of Murano glass, giving his works flashes of light and color. He took a glassblowing workshop ...


Mr. Durham also loved to work with shards of Murano glass, giving his works flashes of light and color. He took a glassblowing workshop in Marseille with a friend, Norwegian artist Jone Kvie, in 2016, and the two ended up putting on a gallery show together, exhibiting ‘puddles’ of glass, as he called them. , and other forms.

“I love the energy of broken glass, but this time I wanted to show off the weird energy of glass without breaking it,” he said.

More recently he has reverted to animal skulls in a big way, mounting those of large animals from European habitats on man-made objects including a wooden cabinet, plumbing and steel scaffolding, a way that still makes them powerful even when moved and seemingly endangered by our over-furnished everyday world.

Mr Durham showed several of these sculptures at the 2019 Venice Biennale, where he won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Ralph Rugoff, the London-based American-born curator who offered it for the price, praised him “in particular for having made an art that is at the same time critical, humorous and deeply humanist”.

The award also served as a repudiation of the American-style anti-cultural appropriation campaigns – or just identity politics, depending on your perspective – that overshadowed Mr. Durham’s retrospective.

As Mr. Rugoff wrote, “Durham generally processes this material without the slightest hint of heavy gravity; instead, he forges sharp critiques that are imbued with insight and insightful wit, and that happily demolish reductive ideas of authenticity.

Alex traub contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Jimmie Durham, sculptor who explored Indigenous themes, dies at 81
Jimmie Durham, sculptor who explored Indigenous themes, dies at 81
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