The work of Native American artist Jimmie Durham (b.1940, lives in Rome, Italy) is manifold–as poet, former activist, essayist, and sculptor he deftly mines the fields of art and political reality, infiltrating culture industries in ways that are both ironic and ambivalent. The contemporary work of Durham plays upon the construction and build up of a “postmodern savage.” Durham’s Maquette for a Museum of Switzerland is an institutional-like setting questioning national clichés and symbols and containing objects, masks, photos as well as texts by the artist.
“Switzerland is a unique and exotic enclave of “a”, more than “anti-“ European culture. Its native arts and festivals have been largely hidden even within the country. “Maquette for a Museum of Switzerland” is an attempt to show a part of the delightful culture of the country, with the view of establishing a Swiss center in a proposed museum of Europe in the future. In both instances emphasis will be placed primarily on pre-christian and non-christian phenomena. (although in the ‘Maquette’ there will be a brief look at both watchmaking and banking.)”