Helen Newington Wills Roark (October 6, 1905 – January 1, 1998), also known as Helen Wills Moody, was an American tennis player. She has been described as "the first American born woman to achieve international celebrity as an athlete." Wills won 31 Grand Slam tournament titles during her career, including 7 singles titles at the U.S. Championships, 8 singles titles at Wimbledon, and 4 singles titles at the French Championships. Wills also won two Olympic gold medals in Paris in 1924.
Senator James Phelan became her patron, and their fulfilling platonic relationship lasted for many years. An accomplished athlete, she is celebrated here as a strong female role-model at Montalvo.
For two months we activated the gallery space, working four days a week on new products labeled with re-examined stories.
Located at the Montalvo Arts Center, a historical site at Villa Montalvo, California, this project presents to the public a souvenir shop that is a "front" for re-examining the complex issues of commerce, empire, and the repackaging of historical narrative. Rough-hewn display tables hold an array of strange and contradictory products such as bottled water ("Hetch-Hetchy Elixir"), false precious stones ("Genuine Faux Fool's Gold"), as well as salvaged remnants of other artists artworks. Viewers are able to peer through and walk around the lattice-like sales counter made of recycled pallets, to see the production space where everything is explicitly made.