While Rome Burns: Jimmie Durham’s The True Story of How Cuban Communists Gained Control of Trump Tower

Back in 2013 I wrote a Minus Plato post about Jimmie Durham’s Public Monument for the Birthday of Rome, 1995. I was reminded of this work on looking at the catalogue for the Hammer Museum retrospective of Durham’s work Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World, as a picture of Durham’s Rome work, which I had never seen before, was included in the early pages of the book.

Towards the end of the book are two pages devoted to a curious 1986 unpublished artist book called The Mystery of the Two Islands: The True Story of How Cuban Communists Gained Control of Trump Tower. (I especially enjoy the supporting statements by fellow artists!)

I couldn’t help connecting Durham’s Roman pile of interesting trash with this polemic text about Nero’s Golden House aka Trump Tower. Perhaps twittering Twump should retroactively ratify this contract, to solve the many illegal conflicts of interest his businesses are creating by making a work of art? We may remember how the area of the stagnum or lake of Nero’s Golden House was re-purposed for the site of the Colosseum as a reclaiming of the land for the Roman people. However Durham, José Bedia and his other Cuban artist friends should not hold their breath – it’s more likely that Nero will watch Rome burn than make this kind of gesture himself!

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