Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World
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Narrator: In this sculpture and those nearby, Durham responded to Naples, Italy. One material he used in them was wood that he found in the region.

Laura Phipps: As far as I gather, it was all already downed wood.

Narrator: Laura Phipps is an Assistant Curator at the Whitney.

Laura Phipps: Which I think is important. That it's not about going out and chopping down trees and staking your claim on nature in that way.

Narrator: Durham also used abandoned leather-working machines that he found when he moved into his new studio.

Jimmie Durham: So, I had many, many crazy old machines. I put two or three of them, as just a way to get rid of them, put some wood on them, put some stone on them, call it art. Sell them. That was the idea. I'm being facetious, but they also acted like they would like to have a new job. That they wouldn't like to be old machines the rest of their existence.

So, they're all quite happy, and joined in very quickly, as things do. That's part of the joy of working directly with material and with no idea first. The material starts talking at least as much as I talk.

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