Discovering the Greer Lankton Archive

Author: Delia Franklin

I was not sure what to expect when I began my internship at the Mattress Factory in the Greer Lankton Digitization Project in February of 2021. Beginning an internship remotely was daunting but has in turn aided me in developing a uniquely personal relationship not only to the work but to the artist. Greer Lankton (1958- 1996) was an ethereal artist and person, popularly known for her dolls whose individual personalities were extensions of Lankton’s exploration into her own personhood and identity.

My internship at the archives granted me in-depth access to the Greer Lankton collection. During the semester I worked primarily with the digitized photographs using Adobe Bridge software to log metadata information into the museum database, creating posts for the Mattress Factory’s social media, as well as researching religious iconography in the collection which I will be continuing in a summer fellowship. The photographs I worked with not only documented Lankton’s life through photos of her and her community, but provided a fascinating look into her creative process. In a folder of contact sheets such as the image above, a selection of photographs had borders drawn on by Lankton, displaying this process of selection as part of the act of creation. Working with the materials in this degree, I essentially was given the privilege of watching Lankton work, observing the artistic decision-making that was behind some of her most well-known pieces. Although she has passed, her selectivity and artistic process is embedded in the archive, and hopefully when the entire collection is digitized and accessible, viewers will too have that understanding of Lankton’s creative authorship.

It is a peculiar situation to be essentially rifling through someone’s life by working in the archives, and it has been an absolute honor to find in Lankton not only an inspiring artist, but a confidant and a friend. Lankton has been a constant in my life since February and despite never having met her, she has led me to discovering new ways to look at my own self and the world around me. Lankton continues to be a guiding light in my work and my life, and I am ecstatic to be able to continue these discoveries in a summer fellowship.

Delia Franklin, Museum Studies Intern at the Mattress Factory, Spring 2021

Constellations Group