During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jill Magid interceded in the U.S. economy with Tender, a wide-scale, nearly invisible, public artwork commissioned by Creative Time. As a dispersed monument, Tender consists of 120,000 newly-minted 2020 pennies edge-engraved with the phrase, “THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE” and entered into the U.S. economy via cash-in-transit carriers to bodegas throughout the five boroughs of New York. The engraving intervenes between the official iconography of the coins' faces: the heads showing the bust of President Abraham Lincoln; the tails representing Lincoln's preservation of the United States as a single country. Evoking both the human body and the body politic, the engraved phrase underscores their interconnection during the pandemic. The number of Tender pennies is equal to the $1200 stimulus checks that were issued to individuals by the U.S. Treasury as part of the CARES Act.
The public artwork was followed by a body of work collectively called Tender Balance that follows the movement of pennies and some of their afterlives while thinking about absence, loss, and traces left behind.
Tender: Balance (exhibition)
Tender Presence – (a live installation of film and sound)