Obit you missed: Callie Angell, professional memory guardian
When we die, most of us are unremembered by the broad world. Few, the famous, are recalled by name alone. Others, the accomplished, come back to mind by mention of their work. Still others, the associates, are remembered for connections to the famous and accomplished. Where does Callie Angell fit? She was the step-granddaughter of E.B. White, a member of the famous, and the daughter of Roger Angell, a legendary writer and editor for The New Yorker. She was also a world-class archivist of the films by Andy Warhol.
Her work has changed the perception of not only Warhol’s films and video but every aspect of Warhol’s art,” said Donna De Salvo, chief curator at the Whitney. “It has helped people understand this material and this period, which forms the basis for so much contemporary work.”
Memory of the dead is a social phenomenon. It does not matter whatsoever to the integrity of a life. But Callie Angell’s name in death is especially profound because she spent her life working for the preservation of memory — perhaps the second most vulnerable kind of memory next to the human brain: film. Warhol’s movies are strange things, but they speak to something ultimately human — they are fascinated by the famous and obscure. Callie was, herself, both.
This is a post that need not have happened yet. Callie took her own life, a fact that her father shared with The New York Times. The limited conversation about her life is equally split between that fact and her work. I have no idea if she wished to be remembered by a broader world, and if she is going to be, I think it’s wise to do so through her work. But curators, archivists, our cultural memory guardians, are not the easiest people to memorialize. Fortunately, Laura Kern happened upon Callie’s work six years ago and wrote a very nice piece about it for New York. I suspect Callie would not mind if this is how she is remembered.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Callie Angell (hermenaut.org)