Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World

Solo en Inglès

puma skull and fur on a metal structure

Jimmie Durham (b. 1940), Tlunh Datsi, 1984. Puma skull, shells, turquoise, turkey feathers, metal, sheep and deer fur, pine, acrylic paint. 40 ½ × 35 ¾ × 31 ¾ in. (103 × 91 × 81 cm). Private collection, Belgium


Narrator: Durham found the materials for this sculpture on the streets of New York, where he lived for most of the 1980s. He thought of the work as a kind of collaboration with the animal itself, a process of discovering how it felt to be dead, and interpreting those feelings through sculpture. Durham’s art often involves this kind of imaginative effort, almost a form of empathy with his materials.

Jimmie Durham: I know it sounds romantic and silly, but that was my idea.

I don't remember where I got it, but in one of these crazy ways, I was just getting a skull and there was every kind of garbage. There was a fur district down in the 20’s. They put out every kind of fur scraps: mink, chinchilla, wolf, everything.

His eyes, one is turquoise and the other must be this kind of stone called pyrite stone from Peru, from the Andes. I had been in Lima when I was in the American Indian Movement and several other places in Peru.

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