Barragan vs Barragán. The former: copyrighted by the Vitra Foundation in Switzerland, overseen by Federica Zanco. The latter: the way that Mexico’s most acclaimed architect—Luis Barragán—spelled his name till his death in 1988. That the accent mark makes such a difference is at the crux of The Proposal, conceptual artist Jill Magid’s debut feature and documentary about her attempts to access the architect’s professional archive.
Part suspense film, part eccentric romance, The Proposal chronicles Magid’s written correspondence with Federica Zanco, culminating in a brazen proposition to move the Barragán archive back to Mexico—a “proposal” as inventive and unorthodox as the architect himself.
Magid and I spoke on the phone following the debut of The Proposal at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Her film opens in New York Friday, May 24th, at the IFC Center.