Jimmie Durham's Self-Portrait: “As Large as Life, and Twice as Natural!”
The artist Jimmie Durham is internally known for his sculpture, installations, performances, and one-time political activism. His life-sized Self-Portrait speaks to the issues of the racialized and gendered body from the perspective of a “mixed-blood” interloper. Unsettling imagery and conflicting textual passages are emblazoned on the portrait-body to visually scrutinize the troublesome concept of racial authenticity as mediated by gender. Ultimately, this 1986 work makes contradictory references to the artist’s multiple identities in order to challenge the expectations and perceptions of what it means to be a contemporary Indian man.
Keywords: Jimmie Durham, Race, Authenticity, Gender, Native American, Contemporary Art, Sculpture, Art
Dr. Greta Murphy
Assistant Professor of Art History, Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion, Northern Arizona University