As an artist, when is the work no longer mine?
What does it mean for a corporation to own an artist’s legacy? This question forms the core of Jill Magid’s latest work Woman With Sombrero, the first part of an ongoing multi-media project entitled The Barragán Archives, which examines the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902–1988).
For Art in General’s exhibition, based on Barragán’s personal archive and library that Magid studied in Mexico City, complex personal and historical situations are explored through furniture, sculpture, photographs, and film referencing the architect’s home and life - as well as an audio recording with slides relating to the architect’s intimate correspondence with numerous women. Refused access to the professional archive at this time, now owned by Vitra and located in Switzerland, the artist instead inserts gestures and invitations to make space for that which she does not know and cannot see. Taking the law as a raw material of the work, Magid frames books as readymades, avoiding copy infringement. Ideas of obsession and ownership, versus authorship and preserving legacy, collide in this fascinating investigation.
Along with the vast majority of his architecture, Barragán’s personal archive remains in Mexico under the guardianship of the Fundación de Arquitectura Tapatía Luis Barragán. His professional archiveincluding the rights to the architect’s name and work—was acquired in 1995 by Swiss furniture company Vitra under the auspices of the newly founded Barragán Foundation located in Birsfelden, Switzerland. The foundation is directed by Federica Zanco, architect, author, and the wife of Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman of the Board of Vitra.
In this project, Magid examines what it means for a major part of Barragán’s heritage to be outside of Mexico and to have limited access. Exploring the intersection of the psychological and the judicial, national identity and repatriation, international property rights and copyright law, Magid re-imagines and re-presents material from the archives based on its legal status. In the process, she explores her role as an artist and a researcher in relation to the roles of Barragán and Zanco.
Woman With Sombrero is Jill Magid’s first major project with Art in General. A reading from Jill Magid’s book Failed States took place at Art in General in October 2012 following her recent inclusion in the 5th Bucharest Biennale, curated by Anne Barlow in 2012.
This new commission is presented as Art in General’s contribution to Performa 13, New Visual Art Performance Biennial.
Brooklyn-based, artist and writer Jill Magid forms intimate relationships with systems of power, including police, military, secret service, corporations, and CCTV surveillance. For Magid, power is not a remote condition to contest, but rather something to manipulate – drawing it closer, exploiting its loopholes, engaging it in dialogue, infiltrating its structure, repeating its logic. With solo exhibitions at institutions around the world including Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Berkeley Museum of Art, California; Tate Liverpool; the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Yvon Lambert, Paris and New York; Gagosian Gallery, New York; and the Security and Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands, Magid has received awards from the Fonds Voor Beeldende Kunsten and the Netherland-American Foundation Fellowship Fulbright Grant. Magid has participated in the Liverpool, Bucharest, Singapore, Incheon, and Gothenburg Biennials. She is a newly appointed Associate of the Art, Design and the Public Domain program at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and a 2013-15 fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Magid is the author of four novellas.
Founded in 1981 in Lower Manhattan, Art in General is a nonprofit organization that assists artists with the production and presentation of new work. It changes in response to the needs of artists and engages the public with their work. Since it was established, the organization has emerged as one of New York City's leading nonprofits devoted to supporting and stimulating the creation of contemporary art, providing an environment in which artists may exhibit unconventional work and exchange ideas with their peers.
All the works in the exhibition are courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert, Paris. Art in General thanks Yvon Lambert, Paris. RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, and Labor, México for their support in the development of this project.
General support of Art in General is provided by General Tools & Instruments LLC; the Lambent Fund of the Tides Foundation; Abraham and Lillian Rosenberg Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; ConEdison; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Select Equity Group Foundation; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; and Affirmation Arts Fund. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters Sandra Ho and Jang Kim, and Cher Lewis, and Commissioners’ Circle members Roya Khadjavi Heidari, Sean Johnson, Mary Lapides, Richard Massey, Leslie Ruff, Steve Shane, Joyce Siegel, and Jeremy E. Steinke.