No. 330: Jill Magid, “First Sculpture”

Episode No. 330 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Jill Magid and archaeologist Thomas Wynn.

Jill Magid is included in the season’s two most prominent group shows: “Stories of Almost Everyone,” which is at the Hammer Museum through May 6, and “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today,” at the ICA Boston through May 20. “Stories,” curated by Aram Moshayedi, is about our willingness (or not?) to believe the stories offered by works of contemporary art. Its catalogue was published by the Hammer and Delmonico Prestel.

The ICA Boston’s show is the first major American examination of how the internet has influenced and impacted art-making. It was curated by Eva Respini with Jeffrey De Blois. Its catalogue was published by Yale University Press. (The ICA Boston is one of 14 area institutions to be examining the intersection of art and technology this season.)

Magid’s work, presented as installation, sculpture, video installation or via the internet, often examines questions around surveillance, permission and consent. She’s had solo shows at or has fulfilled commissions for the University Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City, the Berkeley Art Museum, The Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands, the Stedelijk, the Liverpool Biennial and plenty more.

Many of the works Magid and host Tyler Green discuss are presented on her website, including:

On the second segment, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs archaeologist Thomas Wynn discusses “First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone,” at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The exhibition presents ancient handaxes and figure stones as many as two million years old, and posits that their making was motivated by aesthetic decisions, which suggests that they may be considered works of art. Wynn co-curated the exhibition with artist and collector Tony Berlant. It’s at the Nasher through April 28. The thought-provoking and beautiful catalogue was published by the Nasher, which offers it for $70.

Air date: March 1, 2018.

Jill Magid, Still from Evidence Locker, 2004.


Cat. 3. Spheroid, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, 1.4 million. Quartzite, 3 ¾ inches (9.5 cm) diameter.

Cat. 5. Early handaxe, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, 1.4 million. Quartz, 9 ½ × 5 × 2 ½ inches.

Cat. 5. Makapansgat pebble, Makapansgat, South Africa, ca. 2.5 million. Jasperite, 3 × 2 ½ inches.

Cat. 7. Early handaxe, Kokiselei, Kenya, 1.76 million. Phonolite, 11 × 6 ¼ inches.

Cat. 13. Handaxe, North Bridge Acheulian, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, ca. 780,000. Flint, 8 – × 4 × 2 inches.

Cat. 14a-d. Four handaxes, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, ca. 780,000. Flint, from left to right: Almond-shaped handaxe, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, lower Paleolithic, flint, 7 œ × 3 Ÿ inches; 3 × 2 ¼ inches; 2 ½ × 1 ¾ inches; 5 × 3 inches.

Cat. 15. Handaxe, Kathu Pan, South Africa, ca. 600,000. Iron stone, 9 ¼ × 4 ½ inches.

Cat. 22. Handaxe, Montagu Cave, South Africa, ca. 300,000. Indurated shale, 14 ½ × 5 ½ × 3 ¾ inches.

Cat. 27. Twisted ovate handaxe, Grindle Pit, England, ca. 300,000. Flint, 4  × 3   × 1 ¼ inches.

Cat. 27. Twisted ovate handaxe, Grindle Pit, England, ca. 300,000. Flint, 4  × 3   × 1 ¼ inches.

Cat. 37. Flint handaxe knapped around a fossil shell, West Tofts, Norfolk, England, ca. 500,000–300,000. Flint, 5 × 3 × 1  inches.

Cat. 46. Handaxe, Bentadjine, Algeria, ca. 300,000. Quartzite, 12 × 4 × 2 inches.

Cat. 47. Figurine, Berekhat Ram, Israel, ca. 230,000. 42 Pumice, left: approx. 1 inch.


One thought on “No. 330: Jill Magid, “First Sculpture”

  1. Some of the best photos I have seen of the exhibits. Finally figure stones are getting the attention they need, pareidolia is a term that becomes meaningless, as prehistoric peoples would of likely had the same mental ability. Many such items can be found in multi-million year old layers. Check my blog for the most stunning examples to be seen anywhere on the internet.


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