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VICTOR D’AMICO PAPERS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE MUSEUM ARCHIVES

December 6, 2012  |  Behind the Scenes, Library and Archives
Victor D’Amico Papers Now Available in the Museum Archives
Victor D'Amico, Director, Department of Education, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. undated. Department of Public Information Records. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.

Victor D’Amico, Director, Department of Education, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. undated. Department of Public Information Records, II.C.54. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

The Victor D’Amico Papers are now processed and open for researchers to use onsite, by appointment at the Museum Archives reading room in Long Island City, Queens. The collection’s finding aid (inventory) is searchable online from any web-enabled device, along with MoMA’s other archival collections. The collection includes correspondence, audio and videotapes, clippings, draft and completed publications, as well as personal documents, awards, and honors. Most notable is the collection’s extensive photographic documentation of the many programs initiated during Victor D’Amico’s tenure at MoMA.

As founding director of MoMA’s Department of Education from 1937 to 1969, Victor D’Amico championed art education in the museum setting through innovations that are now standard offerings in museums around the world. At MoMA these included classes for servicepersons at the War Veterans’ Art Center, and for children and families at the People’s Art Center; circulating exhibitions for local students through the New York City High Schools Program; participatory creative experiences at the Children’s Art Carnival in its many versions at MoMA and in Milan, Brussels, Barcelona, various cities in India, and its eventual home in Harlem; and summer art instruction programs at the Art Barge, on eastern Long Island. Under his auspices, MoMA published instructional books for home use, introducing the layperson to artistic expression through techniques including woodworking, ceramics, jewelrymaking, and metalworking.

Participants at the exhibition, "Children's Holiday Carnival." December 10, 1956 through January 13, 1957, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photo by Soichi Sunami.

Participants at the exhibition, “Children’s Holiday Carnival.” December 10, 1956 through January 13, 1957, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. Photo by Soichi Sunami

Cover of the brochure, "The Museum of Modern Art Educational Project: Memberships and Services," with cover reproduction of, "A group of students studying in the Young People's Gallery in the Museum of Modern Art"; c. 1940, published by The Museum of Modern Art. Archives Pamphlet Files: Educational Project. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. © The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Cover of the brochure, “The Museum of Modern Art Educational Project: Memberships and Services,” with cover reproduction of, “A group of students studying in the Young People’s Gallery in the Museum of Modern Art”; c. 1940, published by The Museum of Modern Art. Archives Pamphlet Files: Educational Project. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. © 2012 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

During D’Amico’s tenure at MoMA, the Department of Education organized a wide range of exhibitions, both at the Museum and in other locations. Some were curated by students involved in the High Schools Program; others showed works created by students in programs at the War Veterans’ Art Center, the People’s Art Center, the Art Carnivals, and summer classes at the Art Barge.

Have you participated in a museum studio art class as a child, adult, or senior learner, or maybe together with your children or grandchildren? Have you visited a museum with your class from school? Did your museum-based art education include experimentation, shared experiences, and the opportunity to use your imagination while learning? If so, then you too have benefited from the enduring legacy of Victor D’Amico: a pioneer in the progressive ideal of art education for children, adults, families, veterans, and seniors.

Thank you to my colleagues in the Museum Archives, Library, departments of Education and Film, and the Inside/Out blog, for their assistance in the completion of this project.

Processing of the Victor D’Amico Papers was made possible by generous funding from Ann L. Freedman; The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art; Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; MoMA’s Trustee Committee on Archives, Library, and Research; The Cowles Charitable Trust; Ngaere Macray; Beverley M. Galban; Lori and Eric Friedman; Jean Long Ostrow; and Anne and John McAlinden.

Comments

—-I was given a scholarship to Victor D’Amico’s young peoples painting workshop at MOMA in1952, as a young art student at Girl’s Commercial, re-named, Prospect Heights High School in 1951-52– . Here we made abstract paintings, which were collected by the museum–and don’t know if they still exist in the educational department’s archives–
Lois Bock diCosola

While the Victor D’Amico Papers contain extensive photographic documentation of children’s art and children making art, the Papers do not include the original works themselves. Unfortunately, the photographs do not identify the individual students or works represented, either, so we have no way to search for documents concerning a specific student.

You are welcome to consult the finding aid (inventory) to the collection here: http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/archives/EAD/damicof. If you identify folders of interest, you may schedule an appointment (http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/archives/archives_contact), and you can then visit to look through the materials.

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