At the opening of Jimmie Durham’s “Templum: The Sacred, the Profane, and Other,” the suffocating perfume of burning incense permeated the dark cavelike space at the gallery, furnished with natural and manufactured articles lifted from other contexts and arranged to create the atmosphere of a religious sanctuary. One distinct message of this assemblage seemed to be that any place—equipped even with the recycled detritus of our profane commercial culture—could be hallowed. The raw gallery space, a former glass workshop, suddenly resembled St. Peter’s in Antakya, Turkey, a mottled grotto containing only a modest carved altar and a small statuette inserted in a chiseled niche—said to be the first, and thus the holiest, Christian church.
Two rows of mismatched chairs strewn with newspapers along a narrow chamber next to the entrance resembled a drab waiting room, but the white arched ceiling
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