Posts tagged ‘MoMA’
December 21, 2009  |  Events & Programs
At Play, Seriously, in the Museum
Alfred H.Barr Jr.'s experimental interpretative installations for Picasso: Forty Years of His Art, 1940 and Cubism and Abstract Art, 1936 at MoMA.

Alfred H.Barr Jr.'s experimental interpretative installations for Picasso: Forty Years of His Art (1940) and Cubism and Abstract Art (1936) at MoMA

My last blog post pondered whether a museum could be a place to foster your own creativity rather than simply appreciating that of the “masters.”

In her book Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of Art, Amy Whitaker makes the case that “teaching people to make art can also be politically disruptive because it teaches people to have their own opinion, giving them a say.”

Marcel Duchamp was definitive on the point of viewers having a say: ”All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”

Duchamp’s view defies traditional assumptions about art and viewers, often considered the art museum “dance”—the museum leads, the viewer follows.

Often people think they need extensive amounts of information from experts to fully appreciate art, but all that’s really needed is the confidence and opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions, and perhaps a bit of context as a framework—a kind of a personal trainer to help guide the way, but not do the “creative work” of interpretation.

December 7, 2009  |  Events & Programs
Making Art at MoMA
A young partcipant in MoMA's <i>Children’s Holiday Carnival of Modern Art,</i> December 5, 1950–January 7, 1951. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York

A young participant in an educational program at MoMA, 1951

Is a museum solely a place to revere the creative work of artists included in exhibitions, or can it be a nexus for exploring and fostering personal creativity by participating in art making? This is a question I ponder often, and a salient question in light of MoMA’s early history.

When I began as deputy director for education at MoMA three years ago, I was amazed by the number of people who would regale me with stories about their early experiences making art at MoMA. The stories were filled with passion and detail that spoke of a deep and abiding sense of kinship with MoMA as a place of personal learning and inspiration.