• Sven Johne, Hafen/Harbour #1-2, 2010, chrome ink print, 88 1/2 x 59".

    Sven Johne

    Frankfurter Kunstverein
    Steinernes Haus am Römerberg Markt 44
    May 13–July 25

    Curated by Lilian Engelmann and Holger Kube Ventura

    Sven Johne is not one of the loud ones. In a typically melancholic tone, the Berlin-based artist tells laconic stories of life and fate. Often these tales of suicide, misfortune, and emancipation are lifted from local newspapers, so that Johne’s precise, conceptually clean work becomes a lens through which society’s bigger picture—the split history of a divided Germany, for example—becomes visible via individual narratives. This comprehensive survey, the artist’s first major institutional solo show on German soil, will feature his most recent series, “Hafen (Harbor),” 2010, as well as a dozen more made within the past decade. A catalogue with new essays by Werner D’Inka, Jens Kastner, Catrin Lorch, and the curators caps off the occasion.

  • Jimmie Durham, Self-Portrait Pretending to Be a Stone Statue of Myself, 2006, color photograph 39 1/2 x 26 1/4".

    Jimmie Durham

    PORTIKUS im Leinwandhaus
    Weckmarkt 17
    June 5–August 1

    Curated by Melanie Ohnemus

    For the past fifteen years, Jimmie Durham has been throwing stones. And while his physical targets have ranged from shopwindows, TV sets, and refrigerators to boats, automobiles, and airplanes, what he’s really been aiming at are the complex questions around cultural identity, the relation of violence to political power, and the latent poetry and meaning that wait to be extracted (sometimes forcibly) from superficially banal objects. The act is a simple, resonant, often disarmingly funny one, and it fits Durham’s larger conceptual program perfectly. One hopes his show at Portikus—coming as it does on the heels of the American-born artist’s 2009 exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (his second European survey in as many years)—will at last awaken curatorial decision makers in the US to the considerable achievements of this brilliant, exiled native son.