MAD | Music/Art/Design
Luis Barragán, Mexico’s greatest architect, won the Pritzker Prize in 1980, and his self-designed home was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. After his death, in 1988, Barragán’s treasure trove of an archive was purchased by the founder of Swiss furniture company Vitra as an engagement present for his soon-to-be wife, Federica Zanco, and the couple promptly forbade anyone from seeing it. Conceptual artist Jill Magid, needing access for a project, wooed the imperious Zanco for years to no avail. And then, with the full support of Barragán’s heirs and the government of his native Guadalajara, she comes up with an ingenious and controversial proposal that involves digging up the architect’s corpse… To say any more about what Magid did in her battle to gain access (the episode was chronicled in two New Yorker pieces a couple of years ago) would spoil things for the uninitiated. Suffice it to say that her proposal is both shocking and extraordinary—and the film Magid has made of her journey raises myriad questions about artistic legacies and posthumous rights.
"Should anyone have the right to control an artist’s legacy? It is the central question [of this film,] in which personal frustration inspires a thoughtful, elegantly hypnotic exploration of ownership, access and moral responsibility. Magid’s inspired response to a complex situation makes for an intriguing and approachable film… [It also makes for] a multilayered and thought-provoking work of art."—Allan Hunter, Screen