CALL Legacy Specialists Anne Polashenski
Legacy Specialist with CALL Artist Henrietta Mantooth and Betty Blayton Taylor
Can you share what you and your Legacy Artist were able to accomplish through the CALL program?
Through the CALL program, Henrietta Mantooth and I were able to go through two large flat files of work – 10 drawers total. Our first process was sorting the work into relevant categories we created. Approximately ¼ of that work was inventoried into the CALL Database system. With help of another Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist-Teacher, Ryan Doberstein, I was able to go through Henrietta’s large paintings, roll them with glassine and create triangle boxes for their storage.
I have assisted Henrietta Mantooth in preparing applications for professional endeavors, as well as created a Studio Manual for her to use in my absence. This includes all the steps we use during the inventory process and tips for using Photoshop.
Can you give us a sense of how the CALL experience may have influenced you and your work as an artist?
Although I am already very organized and careful with the treatment of my work, the CALL program reiterated the importance of the inventory process for me. I feel fortunate that I can begin my inventory in the beginning stages of my career, yet I also saw the excitement it brought an artist looking at her work from decades past. I was able to experience Henrietta Mantooth’s process on a very intimate level and was able to appreciate how different we work and how we inspired each other because of those differences.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of this work?
I was surprised that my CALL artist became a sort of mentor to me. I don’t know if this would occur with every artist I work with, but it felt right between Henrietta Mantooth and myself. Our personalities clicked right away and I knew our two years together would be a positive experience. I have learned that no matter what age you are, you will have more successful times in your career and less successful times – it happens to us all and we’re constantly trying to figure out a path that works in the moment. These realizations confirmed the idea that I will be an artist for the long haul.
What has been most difficult?
My CALL artist had some physical problems after a fall in 2011. It has been a difficult time, but she has been able to pull through it slowly. Watching her voice frustration about her possible inability to make large work again, or her being able to make art in a particular moment was very difficult. However, she also saw the positive side of things and I could tell that my presence had an effect on her creativity. I’m grateful for that.
What recommendations might you make to a Legacy Specialist in training on how to prepare for the overall CALL experience?
I think it is really important to listen. You are a guest in the artist’s home/studio and this is the most important step in the CALL program. You are gauging what the artist’s needs are and taking in a lot of information. Once you become more familiar with the artist’s work, more comfortable with each other and a routine has been created, I then think it’s important to discuss what is actually realistic within the two years of the program and to figure out the priorities together. It is also very important that the Artist take ownership in the archiving process and that he/she sees the value in it.
Turkish Delight: Aplike Üçgenleri Obliteration, 2010, 18 x 16 inches, C-print and gouache on paper
Osman I With Tree Body Flimflam, 2011, 12 x 8.5 inches, rubber stamp ink images, collage, ink and gouache on paper
Murad III In Bee Nest Skirt Flimflam, 2011, 10 x 9 inches, rubber stamp ink images, collage, ink and gouache on paper
Ahmed I As Ballerina Flimflam, 2011, 13 x 8.25 inches, rubber stamp ink images, collage, ink and gouache on paper
Turkish Delight: Minyatür Motif Obliteration, 2012, 15 x 18 inches, C-print and gouache on paper
All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.