Why Mediate Art?
Maria Lind

Despite the fact that its particular brand of curat- ing was based primarily on integrated didacticism, in 1937 a separate education department was started at MoMA. Under the leadership of Victor E. D’Amico, it deviated from Barr’s ideas about a more or less detached spectator and promoted visitor participation. Instead of emphasizing enjoyment or judgment of the art on the wall, it encouraged visitors to ex- plore their own creativity. John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy and theories about art as an emancipatory activity with great potential to stimulate political participation in democratic so- cieties played a certain role. Nevertheless, in the cases of both Barr’s educated consumer and D’Amico’s participant, a height- ened sense of individuality was promoted. This was markedly different from the collectivist approaches to spectatorship, in- fluenced by Constructivism, that around the same time and even before were promoted by artists such as El Lissitzky and curators such as Alexander Dorner, both in Europe.


on November 14th, 2018