Throwing Stones: Jimmie Durham’s lithotechnics

Jimmie Durham — Still Life With Spirit and Xitle, 2007, boulder from Xitle (Shiitle) “Spirit” Volcano dropped from a crane onto an unmarked black Dodge Spirit, a vehicle often used by Mexico’s undercover cops. Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.
The ‘assisted readymade’ traveled to Art Basel Miami Beach in 2015 where people were aloud to touch it.
Encore Tranquillité, 2008, airplane and stone; A Meteoric Fall to Heaven, 2000, armchair and stone; A Stone Asleep In Bed At Home, 2000, bed and stone.
Left: Jimmie Durham, Resurrection 7 (of 25) 1995, right: Opening of David Lynch’s film Fire Walk With Me (1992).
‘A Stone from François Villon’s House in Paris’
Still from “Stoning the Refrigerator,” 1996
Left: A Stone Rejected by the Builder, 2006, Stone, wood, acrylic paint; Right: Stone as stone, 2010
A Piece of Concrete Wearing a Stone Mask and a Necktie 1999
This Stone Had Always Wanted To Be a Fish… Some People Are Never Satisfied, 2003, grey granite, acrylic paint.

Rocks Encouraged

When a found rock can become a sculpture just because an artist paints some eyes on it, we have to return to the question, What is sculpture?

Durham’s stones can be clouds or uninvited house guests.
Nature Morte with Stone and House, 2007
Rocks Encouraged. 2010. Petrified wood, text, soundproof room.
Filz un Flint, 1997
Chair, hat and rock
Jimmie Durham, “Self-Portrait Pretending to Be a Stone Statue of Myself,” 2006
Jimmie Durham — The Names of Stones, 2011.
Jimmie Durham — The Dangers of Petrification II, 2007
The excellent curatorial text accompanying this installation says the work points to the “dangers of presuming to understand a culture through its most sacred objects…”


Rocks are generally perceived as inert and lifeless, but in Jimmie Durham’s artwork it’s easy to see that stones are agents, have active power, meaning, and to some extent, accountability.

Painter and Art Instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University