Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or erika@mmoca.org

MMoCA Spring to December 2014 Exhibitions

MMoCA Spring to December 2014 Exhibitions

MADISON, WI – The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) announces a slate of thoughtful exhibitions, both intimate and expansive, that feature artwork by artists working today and building international reputations, as well as established, well-known major artists. An abundant schedule of talks, events, films, workshops, and kids programming will complement the exhibitions.

A Tumultuous Assembly: Collage, Assemblage, and the Found Object

State Street Gallery: May 17 through July 27, 2014

A Tumultuous Assembly explores the artistic legacy of collage, assemblage, and use of the found object. Initiated by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Marcel Duchamp in 1912–13, these radical approaches to art making revolutionized the nature and history of modern art. By mobilizing commonplace materials, collage-based techniques elevated the objects and detritus from everyday existence into the realm of fine art. Its practitioners, in disrupting the division separating art from life, not only overturned longstanding cultural and artistic norms, but also infused the ordinary with a poignant lyricism.

Drawn from MMoCA’s permanent collection, A Tumultuous Assembly presents contemporary interpretations of collage and assemblage, created during the second half of the twentieth century, by such artists as Don Baum, Jane Hammond, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ray Yoshida, among others.  

Turn Turn Turn

Main galleries: May 24 through August 24, 2014

Turn Turn Turn is an anthology of life’s joys and sorrows as visualized in modern and contemporary art. Inspired by the poetic language of Ecclesiastes 3, which makes a universal statement on the cyclical nature of time as reflected in the seasons, the exhibition addresses the changing circumstances in the ongoing cycle of life. With works pulled from the museum’s permanent collection, Turn Turn Turn is divided into seven thematic sections. These sections take their themes from verses of Ecclesiastes 3 that catalogue the central experiences of human existence.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season), a song Pete Seeger wrote in the late 1950s. The Byrds, an American folk rock band, immortalized it in 1965. Seeger adapted his lyrics from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, a book of the Jewish Ketvium (Writings), one of three sections making up the Hebrew Bible; and one of the Wisdom Books of the Christian Old Testament.

Jason S. Yi: A Fragile Permanence

Lobby wall and State Street Gallery: August 23 through November 9, 2014

Jason S. Yi: A Fragile Permanence addresses culturally-determined notions of landscape, from folklore surrounding East Asian mountain peaks to the muscular mythology of the American West. A Milwaukee-based artist, Yi is known internationally for his site-specific installations that transform utilitarian materials into large-scale sculptures suggestive of mountains and other natural phenomena.

As a major component of the exhibition, Yi will create a massive work spanning the gallery that from a distance will resemble a majestic mountain bluff rendered to scale. As museum visitors approach the imposing sculpture, its humble materials and seemingly precarious construction will become increasingly apparent. The work, which is ultimately an inadequate replacement for the landscape it represents, explores the disconnection between reality and perception. It asks us to confront feelings of disappointment, and question notions of permanence and truth.

StoryBook: Narrative in Contemporary Art

Henry Street Gallery: August 15, 2014 through July, 2015

StoryBook explores narrative and storytelling in contemporary art. It presents works of art from the permanent collection by such artists as Robert Barnes, Romare Bearden, Richard Bosman, Roger Brown, Warrington Colescott, and Gladys Nilsson.

Throughout the history of art, stories have been “told” in a variety of ways. Conventional approaches have included multiple events in a single scene, sequential panels, or a single frame where stories are text-dependent and rely upon the viewer’s familiarity with them. More recent approaches have added narratives derived from artists’ biographies or story lines that are implied or ambiguous, often asking viewers to create or complete the story. As this exhibition demonstrates, the ancient art of telling stories continues to be vital.

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America

Main Gallery: Sept 14, 2014 through January 4, 2015

(Exhibition from the Walker Art Center)

From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America is the first major survey in the U.S. to explore the artist’s compelling work, from early black and white images to his well-known series Sleeping by the Mississippi and Niagara, to several new bodies of work not previously exhibited. Although Soth has photographed around the world, this exhibition focuses on his work made in the United States. It examines Soth’s itinerant working process, one firmly situated in an American photographic tradition established by such artists as Robert Frank, Stephen Shore, and Joel Sternfeld, whose work has at its heart the American road, and whose images persistently capture individuals in everyday settings.

Unique to the Madison presentation of From Here to There is the inclusion of Soth’s Lothlorien Series, a group of photographs commissioned by MMoCA for the 2006 exhibition Between the Lakes: Artists Respond to Madison. In the series, Soth focused on the Lothlorien cooperative as a means to explore Madison’s legacy of liberalism. Prior to a 2013 fire that destroyed much of the building, the Lothlorien existed as one of the city’s twenty-three housing cooperatives. Structured to share costs and resources, and to provide a collegial forum for social and political activities, these housing units serve as a living vestige of the radical thinking of the 1960s.

Narayan Mahon: Lands in Limbo

State Street Gallery: December 6, 2014 through March 15

In his ambitious photographic project Lands in Limbo, Narayan Mahon explores the unrecognized countries of Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, and Somaliland—many of which broke away from larger, recognized nations after bloody ethnic conflicts. Although their citizens have succeeded in securing new borders and building varying degrees of functional governments, these de-facto states continue to exist in a political, social, and cultural limbo. Until the international community recognizes and confirms their legitimacy, they remain detached from the rest of the world. 

Mahon artfully examines the conditions of everyday life among these isolated communities as they grapple with matters of cultural and ethnic identity, economic hardship, and postwar devastation. Engaging with global realities and lived experiences of peoples dealing with the complexities of an unrecognized independence, Mahon gives poetic image to the human condition while also presenting a formally arresting and contemplative series of photographs.

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