A Reasonable Man in a Box
Developed for the Whitney Museum of American Art's first-floor Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Gallery, A Reasonable Man in a Box takes its point of departure from the "Bybee Memo", a controversial 2002 document signed by Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, and declassified by President Obama in 2009. The document discusses acceptable methods of "enhanced interrogation" of a high-level Al Qaeda operative, including the use of a confinement box. As Whitney curatorial assistant Nicole Cosgrove writes in the introductory text, "A Reasonable Man in a Box explores the perversion of reason, and the malleability of language and law. Using video, collage, and text, Magid transforms an international and political issue into a physical and intensely personal experience. The installation represents an artist's desire to engage a legal memo—and her government—in dialogue, and to unlock a closed system of clean-sounding legalese with a single rhetorical question."