CALL Legacy Specialists Valerie Piraino

Valerie Piraino

Can you share what you and your CALL Artist were able to accomplish through the CALL program?
My CALL year was a little unusual, in that I was fortunate enough to work with three CALL artists.  We created inventories, housed work, found safe storage solutions and documented work.  We were able to figure out a workflow that is a functional and practical way for them to continue this work on their own.

Can you give us a sense of how the CALL experience may have influenced you and your work as an artist?
It really motivated me to update and maintain my own inventory consistently.  It becomes very intimidating and overwhelming if you procrastinate.  I was really impressed by their ability to recall details about their work, but I don't have that much faith in my own memory! CALL definitely motivated me to record as much information as I can, when I can.  I also have a deepened understanding for how to make my digital and physical information more efficient.  I've already noticed that I spend less time with studio administration and more time working in the studio!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of this work?
I've deepened my appreciation for spending time with elders.  Each artist that I worked with is so different in many ways, but they have all been traversing the art world in New York City for a long time.  Hearing their stories about a New York that we'll never fully know, learning about histories that aren't in the canon was amazing.  They've found ways to prioritize their art making for a lifetime.  The fact that they're still making work and growing as artists is genuinely inspiring.  

What has been most difficult?
It was difficult to start and stop the work.  It takes a little time to get back in the groove of the process and remember where you left off.  It was definitely helpful to leave myself notes in order to remind myself of those idiosyncratic details that are easy to forget.

What do you recommend to anyone assisting an artist in the career documentation process?
Listen!  There's so much to learn from CALL artists.  Listen to their successes, failures, frustrations and musings.  You can really learn what works for them and what doesn't.  I think that's the ultimate goal, is to find a system that will work for them and that they actually use.  Seeing other parts of their studio practice become rejuvenated, is really exciting to watch unfold.

  • Piraino in studio

  • Black Sunrise, 2015, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, resin, string. Photo credit: Pierre Le hors.

  • Black Sunrise (detail), 2015, polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, resin, string. Photo credit: Pierre Le hors.

  • Le Liquide II, 2016, Paper, paint, resin, twine. Photo credit: Pierre Le Hors

  • Niger Delta Blues I, 2016, Polystyrene, epoxy clay, paint, twine. Photo credit: Pierre Le Hors

All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.