Jimmie Durham, Tlunh Datsi, 1984, puma skull, shells, turquoise, turkey feathers, metal, sheep’s wool, deer fur, pine, acrylic, 40 1/2 × 35 3/4 × 31 3/4".

“Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World”

HAMMER MUSEUM
LOS ANGELES
Through May 7
Curated by Anne Ellegood with MacKenzie Stevens

The first American retrospective of the work of Cherokee sculptor, performance artist, poet, and political activist Jimmie Durham presents nearly two hundred objects from the 1970s to the present. Notoriously ambivalent toward the United States after his departure from the American Indian Movement in 1980, Durham considers his itinerancy abroad to be a political gesture. His works wryly question the Western world’s fantasies about indigenous Americans. Although Durham claims that art happens “away from language,” his sculptural constructions—which employ disparate materials including bone, stone, and wood, as well as text, photographs, and drawings—are always in parley with wider discourses. Thinking away from formats and embracing the peripatetic and even the chaotic, Durham’s sculptures short-circuit normative tendencies in (Western) art and infuse its discourse with a fair dose of esprit. Travels to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 22–Oct. 8; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Nov. 3, 2017–Jan. 28, 2018; Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Canada, Mar. 23–Aug. 5, 2018.

Philippe Pirotte