Victor D*Amico

Victor D’Amico
May 19, 1904-March 30, 1987
“I wanted to become an artist and only decided
to teach when the humanistic impulse flooded
my veins. It wasn’t a case of giving up as an
artist because I loved art less, but only because I
loved people and teaching more. The benighted
soul who coined the phrase, “Those who can,
do, and those who can’t, teach,” either was the
most callous man in the world or someone who
tried to teach and didn’t make it.” --Victor
Important Facts
•Born May 19th, 1904 in New York City.
•He attended the Cooper Union school for two years in high school, by pretending to be
older than he really was. He then attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and finished
both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at Columbia University.
•His first book was published in 1934, Theatre Arts, followed by his ever successful
Creative Teaching in Art.
•In 1937 D’Amico became the founding Director of Education at The Museum of Modern
•In 1942 He founded the National Committee on Art Education and created the Children’s
Art Carnival.
•The War Veterans Art Center opened in 1944, now named the Art Center.
•1955 he developed The Art Barge.
•Through college a beyond, he was a teacher and writer. In 1966 he received a medal for
Distinguished Service to Education in Art, a national honor.
•Died March 30, 1987
The Art Barge
Victor D'Amico found his dream in a
retired World War I Navy Barge. In
March of 1960, with the help of local
baymen, he anchored The Art Barge
in place in Napeague Harbor where
it still stands today.
The program has gradually
expanded to include classes in
watercolor, drawing, printmaking,
sculpture, and workshops designed
especially for young people. The
Barge is still open today from the
beginning of June through the end
of September.
Philosophy of Art Education
“My philosophy can be simply stated but demands all the
experience, learning, energy, and sensitivity the teacher
commands. I believe that every individual is endowed with
a measure of creativity that can be discovered and
developed and will sustain him to the end of his days. In
each of us there is a unique creative personality as
distinctive as one’s fingerprints, voice print, or personal
characteristics. Once it is discovered, the teacher nourishes
and develops it, and makes the individual aware of it. When
the individuals gain the power to recognize and nourish it
himself, he is in command of his creative destiny.” D’Amico,
Edmund Burke Feldman
Birth date: Unknown Death: Still alive in 1994
Important Facts
• In 1941 he received a degree from the Newark School of Fine Arts and Industrial Arts
•After serving time in the war, in 1946 he attended the College of Art at Syracuse.
•In 1953 Feldman received a Doctorate in Art Education from Columbia University.
•In 1967 he was first published, and some of his most influential books include Varieties
of Visual Experience, The Artist, Thinking About Art, and Practical Art Criticism.
•President of the NAEA from 1981-1983
Philosophy of Art Criticism and Education
“If I am remembered for anything, it may be my early championship of the role
of criticism in every type of art teaching…I believe there is no substitute for
doing art criticism. Talking about critics, collecting critical opinions, arguing
about artistic reputations, gossiping about the gallery scene: these forms of
discourse do not constitute criticism. They may be fun, but they by pass the
crucial educational task, which is to encounter an artwork directly and arrive at
a defensible explanation of its meaning and effect.” –Feldman, 1989
Feldman’s Steps To Art Criticism
1. Description
2. Formal Analysis
3. Interpretation
4. Judgment
Life Philosophy
“I believe art is a language, even if “language” is rooted in lingua, tongue, implying that languages are spoken and therefore
peculiarly verbal. Our language is seen, that is, made to be seen. But it is certainly spoke about and acted upon. The connections to
language and action make art a fundamental feature of organized human existence. So I think that anything we do to understand the
language of art and its impact upon human affairs is profoundly educational.”
I believe art is involved in the fundamental human need for love and the fundamental human drive toward power. Which is to say that
some kinds of art are calculated to attract love, while others are designed to gain, to augment, or to preserve power.
I believe everything in the world that was not created by God or by nature is, or has the potential, for becoming art.
I believe that beauty is the product of biological, mainly sexual, energies which are given form by art and then institutionalized as
cultural norms.
I believe our visual sense, apart from its usefulness in the ordinary tasks of daily life, is profoundly erotic.
I believe our species has always made art and that it will continue to make art. Of course, not everyone makes art. But if we reach
the point where no one makes or likes art, we shall no longer be human beings. We shall have evolved into something else.
I believe that some works of art are valuable because they give us confidence in our sense and our manual dexterity.
I believe that art can be collectively created, provided that the teams of artists and artisans engaged in the work pretend they are
informed by a single intelligence.
I believe that much contemporary art reflects disappointment with the human condition. This disappointment is expressed when the
human sensorium is devalued and when signs of a human presence in the process of making are few and far between.
I believe that today’s multi-million dollar prices for works of art are obscene.
I believe the contemporary art gallery scene exhibits the pathological symptoms that afflict any culture during its late, or decadent,
stage of development.
I believe symptoms of sickness in the body of art stimulate the growth of antibodies. I do not think bad-art viruses can be completely
eradicated, but they can be surrounded by healthy cells and suppressed.
I believe we have to think of ourselves as healthy cells.” -Feldman
Feldman, E. B. (1959). The Artist and Mass Culture . College Art Journal, 18(4), 339-344. Retrieved
June 28, 2012, from the JSTOR database.
Carney, J. (1994). A Historical Theory of Art Criticism . Journal of Aesthetic Education, 28(1), 13-29.
Retrieved June 28, 2012, from
Feldman, E. B. (1996). Philosophy of art education. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
CHILDREN - New York Times. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News &
Multimedia. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from
MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved June 28,
2012, from
Raunft, R. (2001). Victor D'Amico. The Autobiographical Lectures of Some Prominent Art Educators
(pp. 47-58). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
Raunft, R. (2001). Edmund Burke Feldman. The Autobiographical Lectures of Some Prominent Art
Educators (pp. 194-210). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.
The Art Barge: Home. (n.d.). The Art Barge: Home. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://

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