Jimmie Durham: I've always loved comedy as a way of fighting, and comedy as a way of disrupting. I like it very much. The transition from politics to art and art to politics never stops, and it is a constant in my life.

Narrator: That’s artist Jimmie Durham. As we explore this retrospective exhibition, we’ll encounter all of these things: art, politics, and a good deal of humor. Feel free to begin looking at the works nearby as you listen to this introduction.

Durham attended art school in Geneva in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But for most of the 1970s, he focused his energies on politics. He worked for the American Indian Movement, an organization that fights for Native American Civil Rights. When he returned to making art in the 1980s, a lot of his work exposed, and mocked, stereotypes that White settlers have imposed on Native Americans for centuries. He left the United States in 1987; living in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and then moving to Europe in 1994. Today, his studios are in Berlin, Germany. As he travels the world, he works with materials that evoke his local context. He pays close attention both to their physical properties, and to their political implications.


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