When I received the abstracts for the Mining Modern Museum Education conference—held at MoMA this past Friday, June 25—and read Wendy Woon’s blog posts on the topic, I was particularly sorry I couldn’t attend. It’s thrilling to explore the rich history of museum education, and surprising that so little has been accessible to date.
Posts tagged ‘Mining Modern Museum Education’
I often to try to imagine what it was like for MoMA’s first director of education, Victor D’Amico, to build a new, expansive education program dedicated to art with a radically different modern aesthetic at a time when the public was hard hit by the Great Depression.
I first discovered Hilla Rebay while reading a fascinating book about the life of Peggy Guggenheim, Mistress of Modernism by Mary V. Dearborn, who happened to be my office mate while I was New York City Scholar at the Heyman Center for Humanities at Columbia University several years ago. Peggy’s life was filled with a cast of interesting art world characters, but Hilla Rebay was clearly someone I needed to know more about.
It’s a commonly held notion that a Canadian can be easily identified by the end-of-sentence “eh?” However, true connoisseurs of all things Canadian know that what separates citizens of the north from the south, the true identifier, is that when naming someone notable, the name is followed by a knowing nod and the enthusiastic comment “Canadian!”—as in, Peter Jennings (Canadian!), Brendan Frazier (Canadian!), or Eugene Levy (Canadian!). The impulse to not only include Canadian cultural contributions in the broader American context, but to distinguish them, is deeply ingrained.
For this reason I thought it important, when planning Mining Modern Museum Education, an upcoming panel discussion on four seminal figures in early- to mid-twentieth-century museum education, to consider the significant contributions of my fellow Canadian Arthur Lismer. An iconic Canadian artist of the modern era (Group of Seven), Lismer was also an influential museum educator whose work in this field merits investigation.
In Spring 2006, when I was preparing for my first interview for my current position as deputy director for education at MoMA, I spent some quality time with a fascinating book: Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of the Museum of Modern Art.
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