Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Friday, June 29, 2012
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information
608.257.0158 x 237 or katie@mmoca.org

Upcoming Exhibitions and Major Events

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Announces Upcoming Exhibitions and Major Events

MADISON, WI —­The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) is a nonprofit, independent organization that exists to exhibit, collect, preserve, and interpret modern and contemporary art. The museum’s 60,000-square-foot home, which opened in 2006, was designed by architect Cesar Pelli and made possible by the generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi. MMoCA features exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists, and a permanent collection of more than 5,000 works.

Exhibitions at MMoCA are free and open to the public. All information in this advance release is subject to change; please check the museum’s website (mmoca.org) for updates.

one must know the animals
Through August 19, 2012

Dating back to the earliest cave paintings and tribal totems, animals--as companions, workers, prey, predators, and sacred creatures--have captivated artists’ imaginations and served as an enduring subject. From representational to symbolic, scientific to mythological, animal-based imagery has appeared across time and cultures, a reminder of how deeply animals are embedded in human life.

Through works by artists such as Théophile Steinlen, Thomas Hart Benton, Warrington Colescott, Brad Kahlhamer, Ellen Lanyon, and Tom Uttech, one must know the animals examines how modern and contemporary artists, in a reflection of personal and social values, have used the animal form. By considering the cultural roles and meanings of animals in contemporary life, the exhibition demonstrates the evocative power of animal imagery and reveals truths about both the animal and the people associated with it. Society and the artist define and depict animal life, respectively. To know the animals, in whom we see ourselves reflected, is also to know who we are.

One must know the animals is on view in the museum’s main galleries.

Cecelia Condit: Within a Stone’s Throw
Through September 23, 2012

Composed of the artist’s recent videos and large-scale photographs, Cecelia Condit: Within a Stone’s Throw investigates perceptions of reality, scale, and nature. Central to the installation is a major three-channel video installation which explores the rich landscape of Ireland’s Burren coastline. Calling attention to the area’s stark limestone hillsides, ancient megaliths, and rocky shore, the video considers the relationship between landscape and the human presence, plays with the unfolding of human and geologic time, and probes the connections and displacements that exist between ourselves and the natural world.

Although Condit is best known as a video artist, this exhibition also signals her recent immersion into the world of still imagery. Complex, digitally constructed photographs--including a 5 x 14 foot work hanging prominently in the museum’s lobby--address both the fragility and the timelessness of our planet.

Cecelia Condit: Within a Stone’s Throw is on view in the museum’s State Street Gallery.

Seen/Unseen
Through June 16, 2013

Artists throughout history have pictured reality as understood by their societies. Implicit in all works of art are assumptions about the nature of everything that exists. What is reality? Is it objective and understandable, or subjective and elusive? Mundane or sacred? Set in time, or not? Finite or infinite? Philosophers, scientists, poets, and artists approach these questions through their culture’s notion of the world and the role of human beings within it.

Seen/Unseen offers the ponderings of modern and contemporary artists such as Marsden Hartley, Mary Heilmann, Sol LeWitt, and Alyson Shotz, whose works directly or indirectly address the greater scheme of things. This exhibition brings to a close a series of three exhibitions that have explored the nature of self, society, and reality--themes that have drawn upon MMoCA’s permanent collection, and which collectively help map out the essential character of modern and contemporary art.

Seen/Unseen is on view in the museum’s Henry Street Gallery.

Art Fair on the Square
July 14-15, 2012

For hundreds of thousands of area residents, Art Fair on the Square has become central to summers in Madison. It is also the most important annual fundraiser for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, supporting the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs. This year’s fair will feature the work of more than 450 artists exhibiting paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, wearables, and fine craft as well as a mix of music, entertainment, and outdoor dining.

Dates and hours for Art Fair on the Square 2012 are: Saturday, July 14 (9 am–6 pm) and Sunday, July 15 (10 am–5 pm).

Leo Villareal
September 9-December 30, 2012

A pioneer in the use of LEDs and computer-driven imagery, Leo Villareal is increasingly renowned for his light sculptures and architectural, site-specific works. With more than fifteen sculptures and installations, Leo Villareal is the artist’s first major traveling museum survey. The exhibition was organized by the San Jose Museum of Art.

Because of their scale (works in the exhibition are up to twenty feet wide) and their mesmerizing movement of light and color, the works on view have a profound, immersive quality. The exhibition traces the artist’s career over the past decade, from his earliest experimental sequencing of strobe lights to his recent hypnotic patterning of thousands of pinpoint LEDs. Often inspired by natural phenomenon such as clouds and sunsets, Villareal’s works have been compared to a “holodeck Giverny” (The New York Times), and “fireworks, flashes of lightning, even fireflies” (Art in America).

Leo Villareal will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.

The Singing Bird Room of Robert Lostutter
October 5, 2012-January 6, 2013

The Singing Bird Room of Robert Lostutter surveys the work of one of the leading Chicago artists of recent decades. In over thirty paintings, drawings, prints, and watercolors, the exhibition explores Lostutter’s fantastical world of creatures which are half-man, half-bird.

In the early 1970s, inspired by travel in Mexico and his grandfather’s and great grandfather’s love of birds, Robert Lostutter seized upon a theme that came to define his mature style. A superb draftsman, he began using his exceptional skill to make detailed watercolor paintings of hybrid birdmen. These portraits focus primarily on heads that are masked with the plumage of tropical birds or the leaves and petals of orchids. The elaborate and brilliantly colored feathers are those of mating males; Lostutter thus sexualizes his compelling mutations. Both menacing and radiantly beautiful, Lostutter’s mythic creatures are fusions of animal and human, nature and culture.

Lostutter has always been interested in artistic process and the creative strategies that lead to the final work of art. He has a long-standing tradition of preserving, for personal reference, color charts and preliminary drawings that prepare the way for his finished watercolor paintings. A selection of these ancillary studies is included in the exhibition.

All works in The Singing Bird Room of Robert Lostutter date from the late 1960s to the late 1990s, and are from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition is drawn from the Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism.

The Singing Bird Room of Robert Lostutter will be on view in the museum’s State Street Gallery.

Gallery Night
October 5, 2012

Organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery Night is Madison’s semiannual celebration of the visual arts. From 5 to 9 pm on Friday, October 5, art lovers can look forward to free demonstrations, new works of art, and live performances at arts venues and galleries across the city. An interactive map showing participating galleries will be published on mmoca.org.

Arts Ball
October 27, 2012

Each fall, art lovers gather to dance and dine in support of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Arts Ball has become a Madison institution, an occasion to build and renew friendships, while contributing to the continued financial health of both institutions.

Holiday Art Fair
November 16-18, 2012

Holiday Art Fair provides shoppers an opportunity to purchase handcrafted gifts in the stunning architectural spaces of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Overture Center for the Arts. In addition to unique works by artists chosen through a jury process, shoppers can enjoy live holiday music, a Gourmet Gallery, a silent auction, and the return of the Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale.

Holiday Art Fair is a project of MMoCA, and supports the museum’s free exhibitions and education programs. Dates and hours for Holiday Art Fair 2012 are: Friday, November 16 (hours to be announced); Saturday, November 17 (10 am–5 pm); and Sunday, November 18 (10 am–3 pm).

Ellsworth Kelly Prints
January 19-April 28, 2013

Ellsworth Kelly Prints is a major retrospective exhibition of the artist’s achievements in printmaking. For over fifty years, Ellsworth Kelly (b. 1923) has been recognized as a leading American painter and sculptor. His art of emphatic form and vibrant color--lyrical and serenely self-confident--is a finely wrought distillation of observed shapes in nature. Kelly has also been an ambitious printmaker, deploying his dynamic geometry of squared, angled, and curved forms to great effect in his graphic editions.

Since the early 1960s, Kelly has created over 330 editions, over one hundred of which are represented in the exhibition. Although he has explored intaglio and screenprinting methods, lithography is the medium of choice for his abstract works and also for the “plant lithographs.” Kelly’s rendering of botanical subjects with a lithographic crayon, along with his plant drawings in ink and pencil, show the artist as one of the great draftsman of our times. Kelly’s prints, no less than his paintings and sculptures, have their own distinctive voice. They register equally important aspects of his vision: intimacy, delicacy, and ethereality. Integral to the artist’s vision as a whole, they bear witness to Kelly’s commitment to the phenomenal world.

Ellsworth Kelly Prints includes more than 100 prints drawn from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his family foundation. The exhibition coincides with the publication of The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly, an updated and revised catalogue raisonné of the artist’s prints, prepared by Richard H. Axsom, curator at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ellsworth Kelly Prints will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.


Hours at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art are Tuesday–Thursday (noon–5 pm); Friday (noon–8 pm); Saturday (10 am–8 pm); and Sunday (noon–5 pm). The museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission to exhibitions at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is free of charge. MMoCA is supported through memberships and through generous contributions and grants from individuals, corporations, agencies, and foundations. Important support is also generated through auxiliary group programs; special events; rental of the museum’s lobby, lecture hall, and rooftop garden; and sales through the Museum Store.

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