Jessalyn Haggenjos, “Lake Powell Forming”, 2008. Enamel on panel.
Tate Modern ends with a dramatic twist but that’s exactly what happened today, Monday Jan 4 2010, when two representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Interior took permanent custody of the exhibits on behalf of the Dutch Secret Service who had originally commissioned the artworks.The show entitled ‘Authority To Remove’ became a showdown between the artist Jill Magid and her commissioners, the AIVD (Dutch Secret Service), who didn’t like what she revealed about their organisation. In fact the show was only allowed to proceed under strict conditions imposed by the AIVD. As part of the exhibition the artist presented a book she had written about the AIVD but was not allowed to reveal its contents. Whole sections of the book were blacked out and it was only allowed to be displayed under glass. Predicting today’s eventual outcome Magid called her show ‘Authority to Remove’ and so in effect made the act of removal a fait accompli and part of the work itself. Magid says “This raises questions about the nature of commissioning. My brief was to “Reveal the face of the organisation”. I felt I did just that. It feels strange to have written a book which will never be read.”