Jill Magid Wins Biannual $50,000 Calder Prize

Jill Magid performing Awaiting Alexander Calder, September 28, 2017 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Jill Magid, the narrative-oriented conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, New York, has won the seventh edition of the Calder Prize, a grant issued biannually to a living artist by the Calder Foundation. Magid won the $50,000 prize in part for a performance centered on work by Alexander Calder that was commissioned by the Whitney Museum and included in its recent exhibition “Calder: Hypermobility.” Like much of Magid’s work, the performance involved interactions between multiple forces of chance and sly appropriation of another artist’s story.

In an announcement, the foundation notes that, while the two artists might seem dissimilar, they share similar ethos and a simpatico sense of objects in space.

“In his mobiles and stabiles, Calder unites symmetry and asymmetry, or parity and disparity, in ways that assimilate the larger, unseen forces at work in the natural world,” the statement reads. “Likewise, Magid pulls on loose ends both tangible and intangible—probing seemingly impenetrable systems—and finds unification in disparate elements. Her tenacity echoes Calder’s own in his radical transformation of sculpture.

Past winners of the Calder Prize include Rachel Harrison, Darren Bader, and, in 2015, Haroon Mirza. But this is the first year that the award includes a residency at Calder’s home and studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. (Magid will not be a stranger to the area, as she grew up in Bridgeport, just 30 miles away.)

The prize also comes with the stipulation that a work by the winner will be placed in a major public collection. The next Calder Prize will be awarded in early 2020.

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