On view at the Independent Art Fair over the weekend was the above work by artist Jill Magid, titled Auto Portrait Pending. According to the artist’s statement;

Jill Magid signs 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 setting. Until the diamond′s creation, the empty ring setting, the corporate contract, the artist’s preamble, and the Beneficiary Contract constitute the artwork. Auto Portrait Pending awaits a Beneficiary.

This work challenges the traditional notion that artworks exist as a finished product, since it exists in the form of an idea and a set of placeholders until the “eventual diamond” is created.

In this way, the work speaks to many of the themes that our current series, “Art in the Long View at Lunchtime" explores. For example, at yesterday’s talk, "Temporality: Lived, Constructed, and Imagined,” we discussed Alighiero Boetti’s piece 11 Luglio 2023 (1966-1975), a piece in which the artist commissions craftswomen to embroider the date he projects for his own death. This piece is also a placeholder in some ways; the recorded date is only a guess or a suggestion of potential significance, which stands in for a factual commemoration.

In both cases, the artists focus on their own anticipated deaths as the source material for poetic investigations of the long-term significance and evolution of artworks. By working in this way, perhaps the artists offer not only a new way to consider artworks, but also even a new lens through which to view such a challenging topic as death.

Join us for our “Art in the Long View at Lunchtime" programs on select Mondays and Thursday to think more about artworks and concepts such as these!

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