Artist
Jill Magid
See images of Work

The Barragán Archives: Dearest Federica
80 slides, slide projector, audio
Dimensions variable
2013

The Barragán Archives is an extended, multimedia project examining of the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). Magid considers both Barragán's professional and personal archives, and how the intersections of his official and private selves reveal divergent and aligned interests, as well as those of the institutions that have become the archives' guardians.

Along with the vast majority of his architecture, Barragán's personal archive remains in Mexico while his professional archive, including the rights to the architect's name and work, were acquired in 1995 by Swiss furniture company Vitra, under the auspices of the newly founded Barragan Foundation. By developing long-term relationships with various personal, governmental, and corporate entities, Magid explores the intersection of the psychological with the judicial, national identity and repatriation, international property rights and copyright law, authorship and ownership.

The project is ongoing and results in a series of objects, installations and performances. Exhibitions of the project exist as opportunities to push the narrative forward, and reflects —within the work— the legal parameters of the country in which they are shown.

The Barragán Archives: Ex-voto, Miracle of the Diamond
Oil on tin
9.84 x 4.59 x 3.46 cm
2016

The Barragán Archives is an extended, multimedia project examining of the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). Magid considers both Barragán's professional and personal archives, and how the intersections of his official and private selves reveal divergent and aligned interests, as well as those of the institutions that have become the archives' guardians.

Along with the vast majority of his architecture, Barragán's personal archive remains in Mexico while his professional archive, including the rights to the architect's name and work, were acquired in 1995 by Swiss furniture company Vitra, under the auspices of the newly founded Barragan Foundation. By developing long-term relationships with various personal, governmental, and corporate entities, Magid explores the intersection of the psychological with the judicial, national identity and repatriation, international property rights and copyright law, authorship and ownership.

The project is ongoing and results in a series of objects, installations and performances. Exhibitions of the project exist as opportunities to push the narrative forward, and reflects —within the work— the legal parameters of the country in which they are shown.

The Barragán ArchivesThe Proposal
2.02 carat, blue, uncut, diamond with the micro-laser inscription I am wholeheartedly yours, silver ring setting, ring box
2016

The Barragán Archives is an extended, multimedia project examining of the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988). Magid considers both Barragán's professional and personal archives, and how the intersections of his official and private selves reveal divergent and aligned interests, as well as those of the institutions that have become the archives' guardians.

Along with the vast majority of his architecture, Barragán's personal archive remains in Mexico while his professional archive, including the rights to the architect's name and work, were acquired in 1995 by Swiss furniture company Vitra, under the auspices of the newly founded Barragan Foundation. By developing long-term relationships with various personal, governmental, and corporate entities, Magid explores the intersection of the psychological with the judicial, national identity and repatriation, international property rights and copyright law, authorship and ownership.

The project is ongoing and results in a series of objects, installations and performances. Exhibitions of the project exist as opportunities to push the narrative forward, and reflects —within the work— the legal parameters of the country in which they are shown.

Homage to the Square, 1963, After Josef Albers,
Oil on hardboard
40,64 x 40,64 cm
2014

​In 'Homage' Magid considers the eschewal of intellectual property rights in favour of sharing. This concept is explored through the mutually respectful relationship between the Bauhaus modernist Josef Albers and Mexico's pre-eminent modernist architect Luis Barragán who were both especially renowned for their use of colour. The title of the exhibition borrows from Albers' famous painting series, Homage to a Square, whilst considering Barragán's particular homage to Albers — his ownership of two unlicensed reproductions of Albers' works. Allegedly bought for just a dollar each from a strip mall in the United States, these cheap reproductions printed on fabric differ substantially from the original oil paintings which they purport to be. Yet it is a commonly held myth that Barragán displayed two original Josef Albers' paintings in his house and photographs depicting one of these reproductions hung above the table in the architect's living room have become iconic. Such was Albers' admiration for Barragán that rather than disapproving he was said to be pleased.

Hangman
Neon piece, transformers and wire
65 x 26 cm
2012

Postcards from the Pier (Detail: John Baldessari)
Digital photograph
2014

Postcards from the Pier (2014) is a series of 34 black and white photographs in which I intimately address, through handwritten postcards, the artists included in the legendary Pier 18 project organized by Willoughby Sharp in 1971. Artists addressed include Vito Acconci, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Serra, Allen Ruppersberg, Lawrence Wiener, and John Baldassari, among others.

Auto Portrait Pending
Gold ring with empty setting, ring box, vitrines, corporate and private contracts
Dimensions variable
2005

In 2005, Jill Magid signed a contract with a company to become a diamond when she dies. The contract specifies the agreement for her transformation and the details of her eventual diamond. Upon her death, the diamond will be created from the carbon of her cremated remains. It will have a round cut, weigh one carat, and be set in a gold ring. Until the diamond′s creation, the empty ring setting, the corporate contract, the artist’s preamble, and the Beneficiary Contract constitute the artwork.

I Can Burn Your Face: Former Committee Head
7 mm neon, transformers and wires
2008

In 2005, I was commissioned by the Dutch secret service (AIVD) to make a work for its new headquarters, as per the law’s stipulation that “a portion of the budget for the new building be spent on an art commission.” The organization solicited me to help improve its public persona by providing “‘the AIVD with a human face.’”

For the next three years I met with eighteen willing employees in non-descript public places, from restaurants and bars to airport meeting points. As the AIVD restricted me from using recording equipment, I collected my contacts’ personal data in handwritten notes, which informed my later series of neons, sculptures and works on paper. I drafted a report of my meetings, amassing the details of individual contacts into a collective persona that I referred to as “The Organization.”

My first exhibition, Article 12, which marked the commission’s end, opened at Stroom in The Hague, 2008. The work never entirely disclosed the identities of my contacts, but nonetheless inverted “the surveillance duties of the agency” by publicly displaying materials associated with its employees. Although reviewed by the agency successfully before the opening, works from the exhibition were later confiscated, and the rough draft of my report was returned to me, highly redacted.

I protested the censorship, prompting AIVD to suggest that I “‘present the manuscript as a visual work of art in a one-time-only exhibition, after which it would become the property of the Dutch government and not be published.’’ My 2009/10 exhibition Authority To Remove at Tate Modern marked the fulfillment of this request: the uncensored report sat securely behind glass. In its penultimate state, the project expressed what it means to have a secret but not the autonomy to share it.

AIVD entered Tate Modern in 2010 and permanently confiscated the uncensored manuscript. A paperback of the redacted version, Becoming Tarden, was published in 2010 on the occassion of the exhibition Free at The New Museum.

I Can Burn Your Face: Former Committee Head
7 mm neon, transformers and wires
2008

In 2005, I was commissioned by the Dutch secret service (AIVD) to make a work for its new headquarters, as per the law’s stipulation that “a portion of the budget for the new building be spent on an art commission.” The organization solicited me to help improve its public persona by providing “‘the AIVD with a human face.’”

For the next three years I met with eighteen willing employees in non-descript public places, from restaurants and bars to airport meeting points. As the AIVD restricted me from using recording equipment, I collected my contacts’ personal data in handwritten notes, which informed my later series of neons, sculptures and works on paper. I drafted a report of my meetings, amassing the details of individual contacts into a collective persona that I referred to as “The Organization.”

My first exhibition, Article 12, which marked the commission’s end, opened at Stroom in The Hague, 2008. The work never entirely disclosed the identities of my contacts, but nonetheless inverted “the surveillance duties of the agency” by publicly displaying materials associated with its employees. Although reviewed by the agency successfully before the opening, works from the exhibition were later confiscated, and the rough draft of my report was returned to me, highly redacted.

I protested the censorship, prompting AIVD to suggest that I “‘present the manuscript as a visual work of art in a one-time-only exhibition, after which it would become the property of the Dutch government and not be published.’’ My 2009/10 exhibition Authority To Remove at Tate Modern marked the fulfillment of this request: the uncensored report sat securely behind glass. In its penultimate state, the project expressed what it means to have a secret but not the autonomy to share it.

AIVD entered Tate Modern in 2010 and permanently confiscated the uncensored manuscript. A paperback of the redacted version, Becoming Tarden, was published in 2010 on the occassion of the exhibition Free at The New Museum.

Evidence Locker: Trust
DVD, Edited police CCTV footage with audio
18 min
2004

​In 2004, Jill Magid spent 31 days in Liverpool, during which time she developed a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is citywide video surveillance- the largest system of its kind in England.

The videos in her Evidence Locker were staged and edited by the artist and filmed by the police using the public surveillance cameras in the city centre. Wearing a bright red trench coat she would call the police on duty with details of where she was and ask them to film her in particular poses, places or even guide her through the city with her eyes closed, as seen in the video Trust.

Unless requested as evidence, CCTV footage obtained from the system is stored for 31 days before being erased. For access to this footage, Magid had to submit 31 Subject Access Request Forms - the legal document necessary to outline to the police details of how and when an 'incident' occurred. Magid chose to complete these forms as though they were letters to a lover, expressing how she was feeling and what she was thinking. These letters form the diary One Cycle of Memory in the City of L- an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself, the police and the city.

Evidence Locker: Control Room
DVD, Edited police CCTV footage with audio
18 min
2004

​In 2004, Jill Magid spent 31 days in Liverpool, during which time she developed a close relationship with Citywatch (Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council), whose function is citywide video surveillance- the largest system of its kind in England.

The videos in her Evidence Locker were staged and edited by the artist and filmed by the police using the public surveillance cameras in the city centre. Wearing a bright red trench coat she would call the police on duty with details of where she was and ask them to film her in particular poses, places or even guide her through the city with her eyes closed, as seen in the video Trust.

Unless requested as evidence, CCTV footage obtained from the system is stored for 31 days before being erased. For access to this footage, Magid had to submit 31 Subject Access Request Forms - the legal document necessary to outline to the police details of how and when an 'incident' occurred. Magid chose to complete these forms as though they were letters to a lover, expressing how she was feeling and what she was thinking. These letters form the diary One Cycle of Memory in the City of L- an intimate portrait of the relationship between herself, the police and the city.

Seguridad: PON ATENCIÓN A QUIEN ESTÁ DIRÉCTAMENTE FRENTE A TI
Mirror, hanging hooks with fasteners, dimmer, power source
46.4 x 182.9 cm
2012

Bio

Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1973
Lives and works in New York, United States.

Artist and writer Jill Magid explores themes of intimacy and secrecy within systems of power. Magid’s work develops from her own experiences inside these systems, including the military (being trained to embed with the US Army in Afghanistan), the police (being followed by the Liverpool Police Department through it’s city-wide CCTV system), and secret service (being mentored as a spy after being commissioned by the Dutch Secret Service), an organization that would eventually confiscate her work from the Tate Modern in London.

Chrissy Isles, Senior Curator of the Whitney Museum, remarks that “the work of Jill Magid is incisive in its poetic questioning of the ethics of human behavior and the hidden political structures of society. Her intelligent conceptual strategies engage the viewer in an absorbing aesthetic and intellectual experience that turns conventional assumptions of power, secrecy, control and social space inside out.”

Download CV

Exhibitions
Ex votoJul 15, 2016
Faust 24Nov 17, 2012
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