Jimmie Durham’s Gigantic Volcanic Rock Sculpture Heads to Hirshhorn Museum

It arrives ahead of his big LA retrospective.

With a body of work that spans nearly five decades, artist Jimmie Durham is gearing up for a big retrospective at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles this January. But before then, a work that made waves at Art Basel in Miami Beach this past December will be making its institutional debut this August at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.

Still Life with Spirit and Xitle, which Durham produced in 2007, is a vision of the improbable: The artist dropped a colossal red boulder, with a face painted on its facade, on a car below. “I did it first in Mexico,” Durham explained in a phone interview with artnet News. “There was a big volcano in Mexico City that erupted. It covered a huge area of the city that was there: 10 meters of volcanic rock, very close to [Estadio Azteca]. So I took a piece of that and put it on a car. I had done it before in Sydney for the Sydney Biennale, and I liked the effect of it so I decided to do it again.”

Related: Vandals Destroy Documenta Artwork by Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham, <em>Self-portrait</em>, 1986. Courtesy of Hammer Museum.

Jimmie Durham, Self-portrait (1986). Courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

This long-term exhibition of his work in the US comes at a key time for the artist, who has lived in Switzerland for the past few decades.

“I like the idea of showing in the US again…” he says. “I guess I’m quite pleased at the idea that I can use an excuse to come back.”

‘Still Life with Spirit and Xitle’ will debut at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on August 6, 2016.


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