Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Victor D'Amico Institute of Art/The Art Barge

Last week I got to join a busload of MoMA staff for a daytrip to the Victor D'Amico Institute of Art. The Art Barge, as it's affectionately called, was founded in 1960 by Victor D'Amico, MoMA's first Director of Education and a guy who believed in the value of playfulness and hands-on engagement in art education. A curatorial assistant and I were partly there to look at some of the "motivational toys" D'Amico developed as part of his Children's Art Carnival, a program that ran at MoMA from 1942 to 1969 (there's a great article about the Carnival on the museum's website, here.)

True to its nickname, the Institute's housed in a WWI navy barge, beached in the Hamptons. The two and a half hours we got at the Barge was more than well worth the six hours spent on the bus (even without Mad Libs). The place is amazing! Not to mention the D'Amico's home/archive and guest cottage (crazy amazing!), which I'll tell you about soon. The Institute's director fed us lunch, gave us a great tour of the Barge (from which I snuck away for a bit to take some pictures), and explained D'Amico's ideas and methods. I like knowing that MoMA, whose history can seem so stately and imposing, had this scrappy, rough, and disordered (in the best possible way) side.

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