Objects, Work and Tourism


Jimmie Durham at Palazzo Querini Stampalia

‘A Woman in Germany gave me the piece of crocodile skin.

There have been no crocodiles in Venice for a couple of million years, I guess.’

Jimmie Durham- Objects, Work and Tourism


Within Carlo Scarpas impressive, yet somewhat pedantic restoration of Fondazione Querini Stampalia sits Jimmie Durham’s recent commission, Objects, Work and Tourism curated by Chiara Bertola. Durham’s sharp wit and rigour come through the artists rough, laid-back aesthetic as a means to reflect on Venice’s history, economy and city life; with a particular focus on the tourist industries of Venice.


The sculptural assemblages and various historical artifacts that make up the bulk of the exhibition point to Venice as a city that potentially parodied itself through mass tourism. With the use of Murano Glass, cheap masquerade masks, after dinner mints and piping, the work in this show hints at a place that is being historicised to maximise certain industries despite its cost on craftsmanship or city infrastructure.


The cruise liners coming dangerously close to the city (through continued dredging) in order to dock is the most visible sign of this process.

These assemblage works are juxtaposed with found and historical artifact’s that save the show from cynicism, instead deploying a deeper reflection on a place and peoples identity through time (even nodding to its prehistory). These artifacts play an interesting role as they hint at a loss of craft or tradition within Venice, yet their replacement with mass production equivalents, equally fits with the cities Mercantile history.

Presenting a logical end, whilst mourning a loss.


‘The lace is not special for its time although it would be costly today because it is handmade from linen. I found it in the mud near venice’

Jimmie Durham-Objects, Work and Tourism



Jamie Kane