Mission, History & Building

In April 2006, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art reopened in a new facility within Overture Center for the Arts. Photo: © 2006 Jim Brozek.


The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is an independent organization that exhibits, collects, and preserves modern and contemporary art to provide transformative experiences that educate, reflect, and inspire us as individuals and a community.


After a distinguished 105-year history in borrowed and refurbished spaces, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art opened to the public on April 23, 2006, in a new facility within Overture Center for the Arts.

Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the museum's exhilarating facility offers 51,500 square feet of space for the study, presentation, and conservation of modern and contemporary art, as well as a 7,100-square-foot rooftop sculpture garden. Public amenities include spacious galleries, a 230-seat lecture hall, a children's classroom, a new-media gallery, and a study center for drawings, prints, and photographs.

The facility was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of W. Jerome Frautschi, a long-time friend of the museum.


The museum's collection traces its origins to a major gift from Rudolph and Louise Langer in 1968. Through donations and museum purchases, the collection has grown to become an important community resource. Works span the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and include paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, and drawings. Romare Bearden, Deborah Butterfield, John Steuart Curry, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Cindy Sherman are among the many esteemed artists represented in the collection. more »


Exhibitions are the cornerstone of MMoCA's public programs and have featured many of the most respected artists of the last century, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Chuck Close, Sol LeWitt, George Segal, Jim Dine, Rodney Graham, Georgia O'Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and John Wilde. The main galleries, located on the second floor, host the museum's major exhibitions. The Henry Street Gallery presents exhibitions from the museum's permanent collection while the State Street Gallery offers a changing roster of exhibitions and installations. MMoCA's rooftop sculpture garden presents major works on a rotating basis in an illuminated garden setting. more »


MMoCA's education department organizes lectures, films, panel discussions, docent-led tours, and children's art classes, as well as outreach programs like Art on Tour, Art Cart, and ArtZone. The education department also undertakes special projects like the online exhibition Modern Art/Contemporary Art/MMoCA Collects.


MMoCA members provide critical support for the museum's exhibitions and education programs. Members receive free or discounted admission to museum events; discounts at the Museum Store and all Food Fight restaurants, including Fresco; opportunities to meet artists and curators; a subscription to the museum's newsletter; and a tax deduction for contributions. more »


The award-winning Museum Store is accessible directly from State Street and from within the museum. Shoppers will find an extensive selection of contemporary American craft, fine gifts, and jewelry, as well as books, stationery, and children's merchandise. more »


Good food is truly an art at Fresco, the museum's rooftop restaurant. Fresco features local, seasonal ingredients and contemporary American cuisine. Patrons may choose to dine alongside a glass wall overlooking the sculpture garden or during warm months sit at the garden's edge and enjoy their meal al fresco. more »


The Museum restaurant, lobby, lecture hall, and rooftop sculpture garden are available for special occasions. more »