Jimmie Durham, Self-Portrait Pretending to Be Euroman, 2008. Courtesy collezione privata e Christine König, Vienna.
Jimmie Durham, Self-Portrait Pretending to Be Euroman, 2008. Courtesy collezione privata e Christine König, Vienna.

Jimmie Durham
Humanity is not a
completed project

Curated by Kathryn Weir

23.12.2022 — 10.04.2023

Hours and Tickets

From 23 December 2022 to 10 April 2023, the Madre museum presents a retrospective dedicated to Jimmie Durham, one year after his death. One of the most important international artists of the last decades, Durham was also deeply linked to Italy and the Neapolitan contemporary art scene. Accross a career spanning more than fifty years, Durham dedicated his artistic and political practice to the critical deconstruction of the symbols that underpin dominant cultural systems. In his works, processes of systematic reproduction of stereotyped and naturalised images are opened out through sculptures, videos, poems, performances, texts and installations, all marked by a strong vein of humour and a smouldering critical force. His writing and artistic research, characterized by a deep spirituality and humanity, were fundamentally concerned with knowledge sharing and empowerment. His artistic practice was epoch-making, based on surprising combinations of natural and everyday materials – ‘illegal combinations with rejected objects’ to quote Durham – materials that, when assembled together, generate ruptures within the conventions of language and knowledge. Jimmie Durham: Humanity is not a completed project is a tribute to an artist whose protean and multi-layered work is fundamental to the understanding of contemporary art and its possible futures.

Durham developed a strong relationship with Naples and presented several important projects in collaboration with the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee / museo Madre and the Fondazione Morra Greco, including Jimmie Durham (2008), at the Chiesa Donnaregina Vecchia, and Wood, stone and friends (2012-2013) at the Palazzo Reale, as part of the Fondazione Donnaregina Progetto XXI program.

The Fondazione Donnaregina awarded Jimmie Durham the ‘Matronato alla carriera’ in 2017.