View of “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Jimmie Durham

Hammer Museum

View of “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

YEARS IN THE MAKING, Jimmie Durham’s long-overdue first career survey in the United States couldn’t be more timely. As if to prove the point, the exhibition—which opened two days after President Donald Trump issued a discriminatory travel ban—includes a 1993 sculpture called Forbidden Things: an assemblage comprising an oak doorframe, a painted deerskin sign depicting contraband, and a nondescript box adorned with a cheap plastic bowl, in sum resembling an airport security gate. Throughout the show, such thresholds, borders, and boundaries are frequently demarcated and occasionally crossed. Pointedly titled “At the Center of the World,” the retrospective provides evidence of an itinerant subject, born in Washington, Arkansas, but given to continual relocation ever since: As suggested by a hand mirror casually tethered to a wooden staff in A Pole to Mark the Center of

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