Jimmie Durham: «God's Children, God’s Poems»


26. August 2017  –  5. November 2017

Featuring artworks by:
Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham: God’s Children, God’s Poems, exhibition view, Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico, Foto: Lorenzo Pusterla

The artist, poet, author and political activist Jimmie Durham (b. 1940) began his career in the USA. There, alongside campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples, he developed a sculptural and performance-based way of working, in which he also addresses ethical issues and nationalist narratives. Durham became internationally famous in the 1980s, especially for his sculptures and installations deconstructing state mythologies. Since moving to Europe in 1994, Durham has been scrutinizing his new geopolitical and cultural-historical surroundings. For the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst he realizes the project God’s Children, God’s Poems (2017), which explores the relationship between humans and nature. The artist turns the gallery space into the scene of a congregation of fourteen sculptures, made out of the skulls of Europe’s largest animal species, supplemented by materials such as metal, wood, and fabric. Durham’s sculptural assemblages featuring animal skulls reflect his audience’s sometimes stereotypical ideas about nature and society and suggest a possible way to transcend the particularly European classic dichotomies of nature vs. culture and subject vs. object.

Jimmie Durham lives and works in Berlin and Naples. He is an artist, poet, essayist and political activist. His works have been presented in numerous exhibitions around the world, most recently, for instance, at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles (2017), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2014, 2003, 1993), the Venice Biennale (2015, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999), Museo Madre, Naples (2013, 2008), M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp (2012), Swiss Institute in New York (2012), Documenta in Kassel (2012, 1992), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010), Kunsthalle Bern (2010), Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009) and Museum Ludwig in Cologne (2006).

This exhibition is curated by Heike Munder (director, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst). In cooperation with the artist, a monographic JRP|Ringier publication shall be released to accompany the exhibition.

Visitors' guide

List of works

Jimmie Durham: Alpine Ibex

Jimmie Durham

Alpine Ibex
Ibex skull, wood, glass, steel, acrylic paint
160 x 50 x 190 cm

Jimmie Durham: Bison / Wisent

Jimmie Durham

Bison / Wisent
European Bison skull, wooden armoire, glass, steel, car paint (chameleon)
203 x 72 x 187 cm

Jimmie Durham: Brown Bear

Jimmie Durham

Brown Bear
Brown bear skull, wood, cotton, glass, leather, paint, plastic string
205 x 75 x 158 cm

Jimmie Durham: Elk

Jimmie Durham

Elk skull, wood, leather, glass, Murano glass, acrylic
230 x 117 x 246 cm

Jimmie Durham: Eurasian Lynx

Jimmie Durham

Eurasian Lynx
Lynx skull, cotton, leather, Murano glass, metal, wire, plastic
136 x 61 x 70 cm

Jimmie Durham: Great Dane

Jimmie Durham

Great Dane
Dog skull, Murano glass, black walnut shell, cotton, PE-Pipes, steel, rubber, acrylic paint
170 x 50 x 122 cm

Jimmie Durham: Manx Loaghtan

Jimmie Durham

Manx Loaghtan
Four-horned sheep skull, leather, glass, wood, steel
186 x 48 x 130 cm

Jimmie Durham: Maremmana Bull

Jimmie Durham

Maremmana Bull
Bull skull, glass, Murano glass, copper, brass, leather, wood
252 x 100 x 235 cm

Jimmie Durham: Musk Ox

Jimmie Durham

Musk Ox
Musk ox skull, Murano glass, wood, steel scaffolding, diverse textile (cotton, leather, wool)
328 x 123 x 190 cm

Jimmie Durham: Red Deer

Jimmie Durham

Red Deer
European stag skull, steel pipe, wood, leather, glass, car paint (black)
285 x 120 x 260 cm

Jimmie Durham: Reindeer

Jimmie Durham

Reindeer skull, wood, leather, glass, acrylic paint
264 x 60 x 230 cm

Jimmie Durham: Shire Horse

Jimmie Durham

Shire Horse
Horse skull, wood, leather, glass, steel, copper, cotton
315 x 94 x 227 cm

Jimmie Durham: Wild Boar

Jimmie Durham

Wild Boar
Boar skull, Murano glass, steel, stainless steel, wood, plastic, car paint (chameleon)
151 x 65 x 111 cm

Jimmie Durham: Wolf

Jimmie Durham

Wolf skull (replica), steel, stainless steel, glass, black walnut shell, plastic, car paint (chameleon), wood, steel
167 x 34 x 120 cm

Visitor address
Limmatstrasse 270
CH–8005 Zurich

Mailing address
Postfach 1766
CH–8031 Zurich
Tel +41 44 277 20 50
Fax +41 44 277 62 86

Opening hours
Tue/Wed/Fri 11 am–6 pm
Thu 11 am–8 pm
Sat/Sun 10 am–5 pm
Public Holidays

Adults: CHF 12
Reduced: CHF 8
Thu 5-8 pm: Free admission