On a Thursday afternoon earlier this summer, apprentice educator Tali Petschek and I rushed around the Education Center, heading up to the seventh floor to ferry down supplies to our classroom on the mezzanine level. It was the culminating session of Open Art Space, a new MoMA Teens drop-in program for LGBTQ high school students. For our 15th and final session of the season, we decided, in collaboration with some of our most devoted participants, to do an LGBTQ prom-themed photo shoot. Teens wanted at least a taste of a prom they couldn’t have in their own schools, where they could bring whomever they wanted, dress however they wanted, and explore whatever gender roles felt right to them at that moment.
Posts tagged ‘Education’
For the past five weeks, we have organized a series of weekly monotype printmaking workshops, Degas in Process: Make a Monotype, in conjunction with the exhibition Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty, on view on MoMA’s sixth floor through July 24. Taking Degas’s innovative use of the monotype as a starting point, these workshops are led by teaching artists—Justin Sanz, Sophy Naess, Neil Berger, Kerry Downey, and Bruce Waldman—each of whom brings a unique creative approach to their session and offers a glimpse into the sustained relevance of the monotype technique in contemporary artistic practice.
I’m an educator here at MoMA, and I am 30 years old. When I teach in MoMA’s galleries I am mostly talking with people who are twice, sometimes three times my age. It’s not something I anticipated when I was an art history student 10 years ago, but it is one of the more informative and enlightening aspects of my job: discussing art with people who have far different—and far more—life experiences than I do.
As the fellow for public programs at MoMA, part of my focus is working with artists to develop experimental programs that position the Museum as a resource for the public, artists, and “non-artists” alike. This season, I worked with artist Wafaa Bilal to develop a two-day public workshop, Dynamic Encounters: Experiments in Engagement to develop, execute, and present what Bilal calls an “open-ended performance” workshop that became a space for experimentation not only for participants but for Bilal and the Museum as well.
Earlier this month, I worked with artist and educator Mark Joshua Epstein to bring a group of workshop participants to view objects in the MoMA Library that are not typically associated with modern art: artist-made flip books. This visit was part of Making the Moving Image: Past to Present, a studio workshop about experimentation with animation techniques that predate the invention of cinema. I watched participants hold and manipulate the books and was struck by how the direct physical contact with an artist’s work makes visiting the library’s collection of artist books so unique.
This past Veteran’s Day I had an extraordinary experience at MoMA. Aaron Hughes, an artist and Iraq War Veteran, invited two small groups of strangers into an intimate exchange: he made tea for us. He made tea for us in what might seem a very strange place within the museum, on a bridge next to MoMA’s Walid Raad exhibition, near Take an Object, and in proximity to Soldier, Spectre, Shaman: The Figure and the Second World War one floor above—all of which include work that reflects artists’ responses to war. Walid Raad, a friend of Aaron’s, was excited that this would take place near his installation.
The Education Department is passionate about engaging visitors with art and ideas, bringing people together and creating experiences in which the visitor becomes an active participant. Most recently, there has been an initiative to bring more participatory, hands-on, and creative experiences outside of classroom walls and closer to art in the galleries. For example, from May to September 2015, 16 “pop-up” art-making sessions took place right outside the exhibition Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Cans and Other Works: 1953–1967</a>. Each of the afternoon sessions was two hours long and open to anyone who wanted to take part.
The appreciation of art can be a powerful point of human connection. People come to MoMA from all over the world, each with rich, diverse personal experiences. A moment in front of an artwork at MoMA could be the spark for two seemingly different people to share a connection, conversation, and inspiration. Access to these fundamentally enriching experiences is imperative. MoMA’s commitment to access for all is embedded in the history of the institution itself, beginning with one of the Museum’s earliest innovations in art education
“CHESS SET FOR PLAYING AS LONG AS YOU CAN REMEMBER WHERE ALL YOUR PIECES ARE.”
These are the words inscribed on a brass plaque on the underside of Yoko Ono’s original White Chess Set (1966)—a work that is currently on display in the exhibition Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 (open through September 7, 2015). In conjunction with this show, an exhibition copy of Yoko Ono’s celebrated work is installed and open for public engagement in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden throughout the summer.
In early May I set out on a four-day journey to Chicago, Illinois. I began the trip wondering how architectural organizations in Chicago, a city so densely packed with renowned buildings and structures, approach the challenge of engaging their viewers with these works. How can architecture be made more accessible? What techniques are used? Curated exhibitions of images, models, and research, or tours and activities that physically involve the structures? What methods have been found to be the most successful?
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