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TAG: EDUCATION

Posts tagged ‘Education’
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January 8, 2014  |  Family & Kids, Learning and Engagement
Adventures in Surrealist Family Art Workshops

As an educator at MoMA, one of the projects I have the most fun with is the Family Art Workshops. Workshops are programs where a museum educator leads a group through both a gallery experience and a hands-on art-making activity in a studio. I look forward to planning these, because usually museum educators do a lot of independent lesson planning, but for the workshops we get to work in teams. I’ve always loved collaborative brainstorming, so working together on these projects exercises that part of my brain. This fall, I put my head together with fellow Family Programs Educators Shannon Murphy, Keonna Hendrick, and Lynn Seeney to plan a workshop called Dreamscapes.

Our challenge was to make René Magritte’s work approachable for the workshop’s target age of four- to six-year-olds and their accompanying adults. Each educator teaching the workshop over the course of several weeks would do things slightly differently, but our general plan was to take families into the Magritte exhibition to discover how he painted everyday objects and made them strange or transformed in a variety of ways. After looking at and discussing a few paintings, we would head down to the studio to make Magritte-inspired Surrealist collages with cut shapes and patterned papers.

Our supplies were ordered, and we were ready to go, but there was one hiccup in our plans. By the time we hit late November/early December when our workshops were set to take place, the exhibition galleries were so crowded with Magritte devotees that we couldn’t reasonably expect groups of 20 kids and adults to maneuver through the space or sit on the floor to focus on paintings together.

Time for Plan B.

Looking at Surrealist paintings in the Museum's galleries. Photo: Johnny Tan

Looking at Surrealist paintings in the Museum’s galleries. Photo: Johnny Tan

Having a Plan B ready to go quickly and smoothly is the name of the game when you’re a museum educator, and we had a seasoned team of flexible educators contributing to this workshop. Luckily, we’re working at MoMA, where there is no shortage of great art, so we were able to shift our focus to some of the Surrealist works in the fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture Galleries. Thanks to the work of Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio de Chirico, and Salvador Dalí, we were able to get families to notice some of the main ideas—such as altering the way objects function, or compositional choices that create surreal spaces—that would help them collaborate on their own collage-style dreamscapes.

A MoMA educator demonstrating collage techniques. Photo: Johnny Tan

A MoMA educator demonstrating collage techniques. Photo: Johnny Tan

Participants working on collages. Photo: Johnny Tan

Participants working on collages. Photo: Johnny Tan

In the end, they may not have seen the Magritte paintings we’d originally intended to show, but the families who participated got to learn about transforming objects and settings to change a typical landscape into a mysterious dreamscape. And their collages would do any of the Surrealists proud, if you ask me.

A participant's finished collage. Photo: Rachel Ropeik

A participant’s finished collage. Photo: Rachel Ropeik

A participant's finished collage. Photo: Rachel Ropeik

A participant’s finished collage. Photo: Rachel Ropeik

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Museum as Laboratory: Artists Experiment

What happens when the Museum turns into a laboratory for artists?

This year MoMA’s Department of Education invited artists Allison Smith, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and the creative collective The Office for Creative Research to be part of the second year of Artists Experiment, an initiative to develop public engagement experiences through collaboration with contemporary artists. Exploring MoMA’s history, resources, and spaces, each of these artists approaches the Museum like a laboratory—a place for thinking, collaborating, and experimenting with the museum experience and our visitors.

Allison Smith. Troops Drilling at Fort Jay, part of The Muster project. 2005. Photo: Amy Elliot

Allison Smith. Troops Drilling at Fort Jay, part of The Muster project. 2005. Photo: Amy Elliot

San Francisco–based artist Allison Smith’s work investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment, or “living history,” using it as a means of addressing the relationship between American history, social activism, and craft.

Paul Ramirez Jonas. Key to the City. 2010. Image courtesy of Paul Ramirez Jonas

Paul Ramirez Jonas. Key to the City. 2010. Image courtesy of Paul Ramirez Jonas

At MoMA, Allison is researching the history of the Department of Education, specifically exploring the work and programs developed by MoMA’s first director of education, Victor D’Amico. Allison is considering how MoMA’s rich history can speak to our current education practices, mining strategies and ideas from the past to inspire new experiences at the Museum today.

Brooklyn-based artist Paul Ramirez Jonas is interested in articulating shared stories and histories, working with and transforming different forms of public art and public symbols.

Paul has been looking at the visitor experience at MoMA, exploring public spaces designed for interaction including the bookstore and the Museum’s information desks.

He asks the question, how can we build on the visitor experience at MoMA.

New York–based collective The Office for Creative Research (O-C-R) includes artists and data experts Jer Thorp, Ben Rubin, and Mark Hansen, a multidisciplinary research group exploring new modes of engagement with data, through unique practices that borrow from science, technology, and the arts.

The Office of Creative Research. And That's The Way It Is. 2012. Image courtesy of the artists

The Office for Creative Research. And That’s The Way It Is. 2012. Image courtesy of the artists

O-C-R is looking at massive amounts of information from the Museum’s collection database. From image titles to notes on how to install a work, O-C-R is thinking about how this data can be explored and activated by Museum visitors to facilitate interaction, learning, and exchange.

What can you expect?

Throughout the winter and spring, Artists Experiment will present a range of programs and interactions developed with each of these artists. To kick things off, we invite you to join us for the January 29 launch event, Social Exchange: Artists’ Reception. This special event is a chance to meet the artists in person and get a little taste of what’s to come. The Office for Creative Research and Allison Smith are creating an interactive, performative work for the evening, and Chef Lynn Bound is preparing a special menu in collaboration with Paul Ramirez Jonas. We hope you’ll join us for this warm, winter celebration!

Look out for other upcoming Artists Experiment programs at MoMA.org/artistsexperiment.

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December 12, 2013  |  Learning and Engagement
Catalysts: Exploring Multimedia Art Online @ MoMA
Doug Aitken. sleepwalkers. 2007. Installation view, The Museum of Modern Art, January 16–February 12, 2007

Doug Aitken. sleepwalkers. 2007. Installation view, The Museum of Modern Art, January 16–February 12, 2007

This past fall, MoMA Courses Online launched Catalysts: Artists Creating with Video, Sound, and Time, a six-week survey of performance, video, and sound art created since 1960. As MoMA’s 12-month Digital Learning intern, I facilitated the production and monitored the progress of online courses, in addition to troubleshooting digital and technical issues. Read more

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December 9, 2013  |  Learning and Engagement
Mapping Visitors in MoMA Studio: Sound in Space
Installation view of MoMA Studio: Sound in Space, with Joe McKay’s Light Wave

Installation view of MoMA Studio: Sound in Space, with Joe McKay’s Light Wave. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

Since I began working at the Museum, every MoMA Studio has undergone a complete evaluation. Evaluation strategies include interviewing visitors, surveying participants, observing/tracking/timing visitors, using prompts to encourage responses on comment boards, facilitator reflections, and a few other participatory forms of data gathering. Read more

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November 11, 2013  |  Events & Programs, Learning and Engagement
MoMA Art Lab: Movement—Why Play with Spinning Tops and Tinker Toys?
Activity testing for MoMA Art Lab: Movement. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

Activity testing for MoMA Art Lab: Movement. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

Recently, Family Programs staff were interested in testing out some of the activities under consideration for MoMA Art Lab: Movement before it opened (on October 10, 2013). Formative evaluation is a “try it out” method that is less formal than other evaluation types. Read more

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September 20, 2013  |  Learning and Engagement
MoMA Studio: Exchange Café—What Do You Exchange?

Organized in collaboration with Caroline Woolard, a Brooklyn-based artist who participated in MoMA’s inaugural Artists Experiment initiative, MoMA Studio: Exchange Café was designed to be a social space focused on exchanged-based practices. Taking the form of a café, the Studio encouraged visitors to question notions of reciprocity, value, and property through shared experiences. Read more

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September 16, 2013  |  Learning and Engagement
MOOCS and Museums: Not Such Strange Bedfellows After All

artinquiry-squareThis past spring MoMA decided to team up with the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) provider Coursera to offer professional development for K–12 teachers all over the world. As the assistant director of School and Teacher Programs at MoMA, the MOOC ball landed in my court. Read more

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August 19, 2013  |  Intern Chronicles
“Freedom Not to Know”: New Institutional Approaches at W139, Witte de With, and Van Abbemuseum

Installation view, On Fresh Soil, W139, Amsterdam, June 29-July 28, 2013

Installation view of On Fresh Soil, W139, Amsterdam, June 29–July 28, 2013

Open-endedness, self-reflexivity, discursiveness—together, these characteristics define one strain of thinking about arts institutions and the features that make them relevant to society. Read more

August 12, 2013  |  Tech
Playing Games at Museums and the Web

During my internship at MoMA, I have been working with the Department of Education’s digital learning team, focusing primarily on our online courses. It has been a fantastic experience, and I was given the opportunity to work on a cutting-edge digital initiative Read more

Asking the Big Questions: Agora Conversations in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden
Agora: What makes something art?, facilitated by Petra Pankow. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, July 9, 2013

Agora: What makes something art?, facilitated by Petra Pankow. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, July 9, 2013

“What do we want from museums?” As the topic for the final meeting of this summer’s educator-facilitated, public discussion series, Agora, this question fittingly articulated the line of thinking that motivated the program’s unique format and approach. While Agora (named after the ancient Greek tradition of philosophical inquiry) Read more