Jonathan Durham: MRE Tomorrow

Jonathan Durham‘s performance MRE Tomorrow is a series of sculptural actions that involve excavating canned foods from cast concrete and helicopter parts. The contents will be heated with small stoves provided to soldiers in Russian MREs while in the field and in combat situations. Durham “adopts” the character of Little Orphan Annie a symbol of recession era optimism, to perform the grunt work. The culmination of these actions will be to prepare a package of canned goods to be mailed to St. Laurence Island, located west of mainland Alaska and just south of the Bering Strait. This island is part of Alaska, but closer to Siberia than to the Alaskan mainland. The performance also features an audio score based loosely on the lyrics of the song “Tomorrow” as sung by Annie in the 1977 Broadway musical. These actions will be staged in and around Durham’s sculpture Crash and Ration (2011) an upended helicopter cockpit culled together from salvaged aircraft wreckage and repurposed for use in Hollywood stunts. Performed by Jonathan Durham and Katrina Albright.

MRE Tomorrow is a public performance in conjunction with the exhibition Parts and Labor.Parts and Labor is curated by Adrian Geraldo Saldaña and part of the series Prized Vernacular, a platform for three exhibitions opening concurrently at Abrons that deconstruct a vernacular “everyday.” The performance will take place the closing reception for the Prized Vernacular exhibitions, from 6-8 p.m.

Jonathan Durham is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA in sculpture from UCLA in 2000. In 2007, he completed a two-year residency at the Core Program Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His work has been exhibited internationally including Recess, New York (2011); Mixed Greens Gallery, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, New York; the Houston Area Exhibition, Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston;Learning by Doing at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Outpost, CTRL Gallery; Material Culture, Fort Worth; Library Project, Galerie fur Gegenwartskunst, Bremen, Germany. He is the recipient of an Aunspaugh 5th Year Fellowship from the University of Virginia, where he received his BA in Fine Arts and Psychology. Durham’s drawings, sculptures, and videos are in numerous private and public collections including the Aurora Picture Show Video Library and the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), as well as several video collections such as Buffet DVD in partnership with Diverseworks and Aurora Picture Show, Houston, Texas. In addition to his work as a visual artist, Durham has published reviews in Modern Painters Magazineand recently curated traveling exhibitions such as Insurance Is Not Always Assured, Rick Cary: CREDO, and the forthcoming group exhibition Systemic Risk at NURTUREart in February 2012. Durham serves as the Director of Visual Arts for the Abrons Art Center.