Jimmie Durham / Humanity Is Not a Completed Project
Dec 23, 2022 – May 8, 2023
Museo Madre
Naples, Italy

Artist, poet, performer, essayist, activist: Jimmie Durham (1940–2021) is a unique figure in the international art history of the last half century. His work addresses the foundations of European and North American culture, deconstructing received ideas and accepted categories. This first retrospective exhibition after his death in late 2021 features over 150 works, some never previously exhibited. It creates links across time periods within thematic sequences, combining elements of chronology with a narrative approach and including references to the artist’s experiments with spatial strategies in key historical exhibitions. Across a career spanning more than fifty years, Durham dedicated his practice to the critical decoding of the naturalized images and symbols that underpin dominant cultural systems. His works, marked by a strong vein of humour, range from sculptures to videos, poems, performances, installations, paintings, drawings, collages, prints and essays. Constructing ‘illegal combinations with rejected objects’, across natural and industrial materials, Durham generated ruptures within conventions of language and knowledge.

The exhibition is a tribute to an artist whose protean, multi-layered work is fundamental to the understanding of contemporary art and its possible futures. Its title, taken from a print by Durham, underlines his project to relativize as culturally specific the universalizing and teleological notions of the human characteristic of European modernity. The opening sequence lays out Durham’s critique of notions of authenticity, identity, truth and nationhood – ‘Veracity’ and ‘Voracity’ read two of his early sculptural signs. While at art school in Geneva from 1969, Durham was part of a network of thinkers and activists involved in Third World and Indigenous liberation movements, and in 1973 he returned to the US to join in civil rights struggles. He worked with the Central Council of the American Indian Movement (AIM), helping to establish AIM: Women of All Red Nation (WARN), and then from 1975, as founding director of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) at the United Nations, worked on the integration into international law of the ‘Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’. In 1979, he resigned from the AIM, expressing doubts as to its political autonomy, and shifted his focus back to art making, while also declaring his intent to maintain an engagement with ongoing struggles.

  • Tyrone Williams & Madison Dinelle: Chiasm
    Ceremony Press

    Many photographers have experimented with the ‘Call & Response’ model of collaboration, where images function like links in a chain – a visual duel, or game of chess. This book, in which these two photographers pair up their photographs, feels more to me like a matching card game. Chiasm describes in biology the point at which two filamentous structures like a tendon or nerve diagonally intersect in an X (more…)

  • Adraint Khadafhi Bereal: The Black Yearbook
    4 Color Books / Penguin Random House

    When photographer Adraint Bereal graduated from the University of Texas, he self-published an impressive volume of portraits, personal statements, and interviews that explored UT’s campus culture and offered an intimate look at the lives of Black students matriculating within a majority white space. Bereal’s work was inspired by his first photo exhibition at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, entitled 1.7, that unearthed the experiences of the 925 Black men that made up just 1.7% of UT’s total 52,000 student body. (more…)

  • Myriam Boulos: What’s Ours

    A searing, diaristic portrayal of a city and society in revolution by Magnum nominee Myriam Boulos. In her debut monograph, Myriam Boulos casts an unflinching eye on the revolution that began in Lebanon in 2019 with protests against government corruption and austerity – culminating with the aftermath of the devastating Beirut port explosion of August 2020. (more…)

  • Leda Papaconstantinou: Time In My Hands. A Retrospective
    Dec 14, 2023 – Apr 21, 2024
    Athens, Greece

    Time in my hands represents the first ever major retrospective exhibition for Leda Papaconstantinou (b. 1945), one of the most important artists in the history of contemporary art in Greece. For over almost five decades, Papaconstantinou developed a diverse body of work that took on a range of forms – performance, sculpture, video, site-specific installations, painting, etc. – in order to explore issues of gender, sexuality, collective and personal memory, history, politics and ecology, centred always on the body. (more…)