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Title: Pedagogy for the Modern: Victor D’Amico and the Museum of Modern Art, 1929–1969
Authors: Rasmussen, Briley
Supervisors: MacLeod, Suzanne
Marstine, Janet
Award date: 30-Jun-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis explores the history of the educational mission and programs of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA) from 1929 to 1969, interrogating how education programs were critical to the museum’s presentation, definition, and dissemination of modern art in this period. It centers on the work of Victor D’Amico, the first director of education at MoMA, and follows the course of his tenure at MoMA from 1937 to his retirement in 1969. The first two chapters of this thesis address the philosophical roots of the museum and its education program. It begins with an examination of the progressive aspirations of the museum’s founders, as well as the pedagogical experiments of MoMA’s first director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. It then introduces Victor D’Amico, exploring the progressive grounding of his work and the shifting notions of children and childhood that become the heart of his work at MoMA. Through the lens of specific programs the next three chapters investigate three different decades at the museum. Chapter Three focuses on the multiple exhibition Elements of Design and considers how the museum developed pedagogical tools to reach larger audiences for modern design. Chapter Four addresses the changing climate for MoMA and modern art following the Second World War and how the museum harnessed television as a critical medium to develop audiences for modern art and promote its place in a democracy. Finally, Chapter Five discusses how D’Amico’s Children’s Art Carnival was leveraged as a tool for cultural diplomacy in Europe and India during the Cold War. Through a focus on the educational philosophy and practices of the museum this thesis investigates the larger ambitions of MoMA to impact daily life. They believed an engagement with modern art and its ideas and practices could foster agency in people in the United States and abroad. Ultimately, this thesis charts a more expansive understanding of modernism and the role of museum education in the histories of art and museums.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Description: Access to the electronic version of this thesis is restricted until further notice.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Museum Studies

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