10-Penny Jig, 2021
Image size: 10 x 5.5 in.
Frame size: 11.5 x 7 in.
Hahnemühle Photorag Metallic paper in copper frame
Edition of 8 + 2 AP
Jill Magid’s 10-Penny Jig is a companion work to her solo show at the Renaissance Society, Tender: Balance, in which she explores the circulation of pennies against the backdrop of the pandemic. Printed on metallic paper and framed in a handmade copper frame, the image depicts a special jig that Magid used for engraving the edges of ten pennies at a time. Echoing a moment in her new film in the exhibition, this image offers a glimpse into another facet of Magid’s larger ongoing Tender project. In the summer of 2020, as the global pandemic grew, Magid laser engraved the edge of 120,000 uncirculated pennies with “THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE,” a phrase that might evoke individual bodies, the economy, or the body politic. She then put the pennies back into circulation through small transactions at bodegas throughout New York. As these pennies are exchanged for years to come, this monumental but almost invisible public artwork can only be experienced in intimate and unscripted ways, one penny at a time—or more likely, simply as a rumor.
The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago is driven by an uncompromising commitment to artists and their ideas. We set out to provide a strong intellectual framework and question institutional restraints as we support artists to explore new terrain. “The Ren”—as we are known by many—is an independent, non-collecting museum, presenting contemporary art exhibitions, events, and publications. All exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.
Magid’s piece represents the second edition in the relaunch of the Renaissance Society’s esteemed editions program, which has produced works by Kara Walker, Albert Oehlen, Juan Muñoz, Laura Letinsky, Kerry James Marshall, John Baldessari, Sol LeWitt, Isaac Julian, Nora Schultz, and others. This new chapter of editions forefronts collaboration between the Renaissance Society, artists, and friends to create another platform for experimentation.
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