Since 2015, the Joan Mitchell Foundation has collaborated with Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA) to present the CALL/VoCA Talks. This artist interview series highlights the voices of artists who have participated in the Foundation’s Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) program. The artists are interviewed by curators, conservators, and other arts professionals. A video recording of each interview is made available after the talk, and the full library of those recordings is available below.
The collection of CALL/VoCA recordings and interview transcripts will be archived at NYU Bobst Library. Interested parties can request an interview transcript at firstname.lastname@example.org. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: CALL/VoCA Talk with artist name, interview date. Presented by Joan Mitchell Foundation & VoCA (Voices in Contemporary Art).
Legacy Specialist Panel
An animated conversation between artist Jaime Davidovich and Steven O’Banion, Director of Conservation at Glenstone at New York University’s Fales Library & Special Collections. As a legend of the “downtown” New York art scene, Argentinian-born Davidovich regaled the audience with his sharp memories and impressions of SoHo, East Village, and Lower East Side neighborhoods in Manhattan from the 1970s. In this lively conversation, Davidovich reflects on living and working in New York as a painter in the late 1960s, his experimental “tape paintings,” and his introduction to the medium of videotape in 1969, which then lead to him using cable television as a conduit for video art.
Blane de St. Croix New York-based artist Blane De St. Croix sat down with SFMoMA’s Director of Artist Initiatives and VoCA Board Member Robin Clark to discuss how his monumental geopolitical installations reveal distinct conflicts existing in our natural world and current political structures. Through extensive research, he seeks to facilitate discourse on the shared social, political, and ecological issues concerning the US borders, climate change, pollution, land erosion, and preservation.
Marcos DimasMarcos Dimas on the founding of Taller Boricua in New York: “We got together to share space—artists need space, artists need materials—and then we decided to do posters to contribute to the libertarian issues that were happening, and specifically the decolonization of Puerto Rico, because Puerto Rico had been a colony for 500 years. And then we decided to create an educational component where we would take our exhibitions to the community…”
In this conversation artist and activist Marcos Dimas, interviewed by fellow artist and Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA) Program Committee member Jonathan Allen, discuss combining his art practice with his advocacy work. Marcos co-founded Taller Boricua, The Puerto Rican Workshop, Inc., in 1970.
Gwen Fabricant“It’s called Gravity and Grace. I was reading a little bit of Simone Weil’s book that has that title. She says that attention is the most pure form of generosity—to pay attention. What I really hope for in having anyone look at my work is to pay a lot of attention, very slowly.”
In this interview, New York-based painter Gwen Fabricant, interviewed by conservator Jennifer Hickey, reflects on her CALL experience, and offers insight into her process of finding, seeing, and recording reality in her paintings, collages, assemblages, and scanned imagery.
Painter and public artist Arlan Huang sat down with artist and Legacy Specialist Beth Krebs and Robin Clark, VoCA Board Member and Director of the Artist Initiative at SFMOMA, to discuss his intergenerational narrative, artistic journey, and commitment to family and community. Together with his Legacy Specialist, they talk through the emotional and physical process of documenting over forty years of his artwork.
Ted KuraharaPioneering artist Ted Kurahara sits down with fellow CALL Artist and VoCA Board Member Arlan Huang to trace the arc of his artistic practice alongside his many inspirations, including the Golden Section, European painting traditions, Haiku poetry, and personal narrative. From his childhood in Seattle and time spent in an Internment Camp before serving in the 442nd Japanese American Battalion, Kurahara has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to teaching and art making in cities and schools across the US.
Henrietta MantoothPainter and installation artist Henrietta Mantooth sat down with VoCA Program Committee Member Jennifer Hickey to discuss her childhood and creative trajectory as an actor, theater designer, and journalist. Mantooth reflects on living, working, and traveling throughout Latin America for 18 years, and her recent dedication to examining US-based exclusionary, anti-immigrant, and mass incarceration policies in her installations and collaborations.
“I used to think, ‘Who is going to care about my work? Who is going to care about this?’ Now as I look back on my work with Joan Mitchell Foundation’s CALL program, and even in this presentation, I think that as an artist or creative person, you should give yourself a lot more credit… It’s a life lived, and you’re recording your life.”
Christy Rupp is a New York-based artist whose work deals with urban ecology, nature, and animal life and behavior. In this conversation, artist and VoCA Program Committee member Jonathan Allen examines with Rupp her creative process and the impact of economics on the environment, including the commodification of natural resources, climate chaos, plastic pollution, and invisible feedback from the planet.
“This one is called Layered World… The world this person sees, it’s like a mirage…a world on one surface, and a world below that, and a world above that. I see clues to all these different worlds and I put them together in myself into a reality. But it’s never one thing…”
On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, painter, printmaker, and educator, Juan Sánchez sat down with conservator and VoCA Program Committee member Jennifer Hickey to reflect on his many sources of inspiration, past and current work, as well as his life-long commitment to activism. In addition to this conversation, Juan and Jennifer conducted a recorded gallery walk-through of What’s The Meaning of This? exhibition at BRIC Media Arts House.
On Wednesday, December 9, 2015, CALL artist Mimi Smith sat down with Christie Mitchell, VoCA Program Committee member and Curatorial Assistant at the Whitney Museum, to discuss her oeuvre and the experience of documenting her life’s work. This event was one of a series hosted in partnership with the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) Program to highlight the innovative CALL initiative while also underscoring the crucial need for dialogue with artists around the production, presentation, and preservation of their work.
Muralist, painter, sculptor, fabric designer, and poet Emmett Wigglesworth sat down with curator and VoCA Program Committee Member, Christie Mitchell, to discuss building a fifty-year career at the intersection of arts, education, and social consciousness. Wigglesworth reflects on his participation in the Civil Rights Movement, the Weusi Artist Collective, Harlem Children’s Art Carnival, and a number of other initiatives formed out of the Black Arts movement in the 60s and 70s.
Legacy Specialist Panel
To help the Joan Mitchell Foundation identify and implement its career documentation strategies for the CALL program, we trained a group of emerging and mid-career artists as Legacy Specialists. The specialists received a base of knowledge in the areas specific to studio organization and inventory management. Following the training, the specialists were paired with a CALL Artist to provide logistical and managerial assistance in the studio.This panel discussion, moderated by conservator and VoCA Board Member Kendra Roth, focused specifically on Legacy Specialists—the artists who helped organize and inventory the work of older artists as part of Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) Program. During the discussion, the audience heard from three artists—Antonia Perez, Rose Nestler, and Julia Rooney—who, in addition to contributing their time and experience to the CALL program, have managed to thrive in their own artistic practices. The topics of discussion included materiality, archival ability, and controlling how one’s art is consumed.