‘The Proposal’ Review: Artist Turns Luis Barragán’s Legacy Into an Absorbing Caper

What’s in a name? As Romeo and Juliet knew, quite a lot. Called “the artist among architects,” Luis Barragán brought his eye-catching colorful Modernism to Mexico, becoming one of the country’s most renowned artists and cultural touchstones. His personal home in Mexico City is a Unesco World Heritage site, requiring reservations weeks in advance to visit. Casa Luis Barragán houses his personal art collection, but his entire professional archive lives in Switzerland, where it is owned and strictly monitored by a single corporation. The Swiss design company Vitra controls the access and rights to all of Barragán’s work, including any photographs of his buildings. It also owns his name.

Jill Magid’s provocative new film “The Proposal” both uncovers this travesty and actively seeks to challenge it, with the ultimate goal being to return the Barragán archives to Mexico. The film is itself a provocation; a fascinating
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