Jill Magid. The Proposal

Book Launch Wed 14 Sep 2016 6.30PM-8.30PM Wollman Hall
65 West 11th Street, 5th Floor
New York City

Free Admission
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Jill Magid forges intimate relationships within bureaucratic structures – flirting with, seducing and subverting authority. Since the launch of her project The Barragán Archives in 2013, Magid has examined the collusion and collision of artistic vision, nationalism and economic interests as they arise in the legacy of Mexican architect and Pritzker Prize-winner Luis Barragán (1902-1988). How do copyright regulations, intellectual property, and cultural legacy intersect? What is at stake when artistic work gets severed from its site of origin, what is the potential of restitution? Magid inserts the variables "love" and "affinity" into such intersections and takes her project partners on an extravagant and revealing saga zigzagging between Guadalajara, Mexico D.F., New York, and Weil am Rhein, Switzerland.

Organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, the book launch for The Proposal celebrates the artist's exhibition (opening at San Francisco Art Institute on September 9, 2016, and first presented at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland) and marks the final event of Jill Magid's fellowship at the Vera List Center. It brings together major contributors to the book in a discussion around the pressing issues of authorship versus ownership, provoked by Magid's project.

In his will, Luis Barragán split his archive into two. Along with the majority of his architectural oeuvre, his personal archive remains in Mexico. In 1995, the professional archive, including the rights to Barragán's name, work and all photographs thereof, was purchased by Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the Swiss furniture company Vitra, allegedly as an engagement gift for Fehlbaum's fiancée Federica Zanco. And today, Zanco serves as director of the Barragan Foundation, housed below Vitra's corporate headquarters in Weil am Rhein, inaccessible to the public.

Jill Magid's long-term project The Barragán Archives was initiated during her fellowship at the Vera List Center (2013-2015) and resulted in numerous installations and performances in museums and galleries in Europe, Mexico, and the United States. In the course of these presentations, Magid has developed a personal relationship with Zanco through various exchanges, some of which are captured in the exhibition and the book. In the project's climactic piece, "The Proposal," Magid offers to Zanco an engagement ring, complete with a two-carat diamond grown from Barragán's cremated remains, in exchange for the return of the architect's archive to Mexico. "The Proposal" serves as both a poetic counterproposal to Fehlbaum's gift to Zanco, and the reanimation of a formerly closed scenario, elegantly and forcefully rejoining the divergent paths of Barragán's personal and professional archives.

Leonardo Díaz-Borioli, designer, Guadalajara
Nikolaus Hirsch, Editor, Critical Spatial Practice series, Sternberg Press
Jill Magid, 2013-2015 Vera List Center Fellow
Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs, San Francisco Art Institute
Daniel McLean, head of art and cultural property law, Howard Kennedy LLP, London
Cuauhtémoc Medina, Chief Curator, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Associate Professor and Director of Historic Preservation, Columbia University

The Proposal is published in 2016 by Sternberg Press as part of its Critical Spatial Practice book series. It was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. The book is edited by Nikolaus Hirsch, Carin Kuoni, Hesse McGraw, and Markus Miessen, with contributions by Leonardo Díaz Borioli, Nikolaus Hirsch, David Kim, Jill Magid, Daniel McClean, Hesse McGraw, Cuauhtémoc Medina, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Ines Weizman.

The exhibition The Proposal was commissioned by San Francisco Art Institute and first exhibited at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland, from June 4 – August 21, 2016. It will make its U.S. premiere at San Francisco Art Institute, from September 9 – December 10, 2016. The Barragán Archives was developed in part as an Art in General New Commissions Program, during a 2013–15 Vera List Center Fellowship.

Organized and presented by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School in collaboration with Sternberg Press and San Francisco Art Institute.