The Woodman Family Foundation featured in Artnet News series “The Art World at Home”
In this interview for Artnet News’s “The Art World at Home” series, our Executive Director, Lissa McClure discusses some of the Woodman Family Foundation’s current projects, including processing the archives of Betty Woodman, Francesca Woodman and George Woodman, a rich trove of material. You’ll also learn a bit more about the home out of which McClure is currently working, which sustains and inspires her work with the Foundation.
The following is an excerpt from the interview:
While much of the art world remained at home these past few months, Lissa McClure, the executive director of the Woodman Family Foundation—which oversees the legacies of artists Betty, Francesca, and George Woodman—worked hard with her team to bring their work to the public.
Social media has been a boon. Thanks to the wide reach of Instagram, McClure and her colleagues have able to bring to life the lives of the artists for a broad audience. Now comes another task: going through the Woodman family archives to make sense of the many materials they left behind.
We caught up with McClure to hear about her latest projects, her favorite recent art exhibition, and the first work she bought on her own.
What are you working on right now?
We’ve recently received a bequest of the complete archives of Betty, Francesca, and George Woodman from Betty’s Estate and are making our way through the material. We’re still a ways away from receiving what will become significant holdings of artwork by each of them, which gives us time to dedicate to this archival cataloguing.
It’s a formidable task, historically important and hugely rewarding. In some ways, the archival material is the heart of our foundation. It’s a thrill to touch and read Betty, Francesca, and George’s personal papers and get inside each of their practices. When I’m fortunate enough to be engaging with this material firsthand, I find myself pulled into their individual letters, journals, notes and also correspondence between them; clothing that Francesca wore and used in her photographs; plans from long-ago projects and exhibitions.
We’re in the unique position of stewarding the legacies of not one but three artists, and a family at that. Shutdowns afforded us the opportunity to strategize about the next phase of our work—forming institutional partnerships and providing scholarly access—in frequent Zoom meetings with our board, most of them close to Betty and George during their lifetimes and each bringing invaluable insights and expertise to our table.
The interview continues:
Which two fellow art-world people, living or dead, would you like to convene for dinner, and why?
I’d push for four: Betty, Francesca, George, and Charlie, their son and chair of our board. Preferably at their big outdoor table in Antella, Italy.
They spent decades sharing meals with friends and family in that spot. Betty would prepare one of her incredible meals, probably pasta she learned to cook in 1960 and fresh vegetables from their huge garden. We’d be surrounded by the Tuscan landscape that was so beloved by all of them.
Dinner would be served on Betty’s platters and eaten from her plates. I knew Betty and George for over a decade and knew Francesca only through her work. But I now feel connected to this family in a very different way. Delving into the work and papers of these three makes me wish they were here—to ask more questions, to hear more stories, to linger over a decadent dessert.
To read the interview in full, click here.
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