Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Monday, December 12, 2005
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information ( or 608.257.0158)

  Sheri Castelnuovo, Curator of Education ( or 608.257.0158)

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Launches Online Exhibition

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
Launches Online Exhibition

MADISON, WI –The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) announces a new online exhibition and educator’s resource drawn from artworks in the museum’s distinguished permanent collection. Modern Art /Contemporary Art / MMoCA Collects is the museum’s most ambitious online project to date. It was made possible in part through a prestigious grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency dedicated to helping libraries and museums serve their communities.

MMoCA Collects can be found on the Internet at It can also be reached through links from the museum’s website at

Using an image-rich format, MMoCA Collects explores 30 key pieces from the museum’s collection of nearly 5,000 artworks. Selections reflect a balance of media, style, subject, time period, and artist background, and exemplify the overall quality and diversity of the MMoCA collection. Each of the chosen works is explored in the context of the artist’s history, as well as related themes, styles, media, and art history. As a whole, the site forms an engaging and revealing introduction to modern and contemporary art, and to the dynamic character of the museum.

According to education curator Sheri Castelnuovo, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art had several goals in creating the new website. “MMoCA Collects introduces the museum to audiences both within and outside of Madison. It also clarifies the distinctions between modern and contemporary art, which together comprise the focus of the museum’s collection,” Castelnuovo explains. “The site also includes extensive resources for educators, including classroom-tested lesson plans for all grade levels and disciplines. These lessons enhance the abilities of teachers, whether novice or veteran, to use art as a motivator for learning about not just art, but also language arts, science, math, social studies, and technology.”

The interactive format of MMoCA Collects mimics a visit to a bricks-and-mortar museum exhibition in that each visitor can focus on the artworks and related content he or she finds most interesting. In addition to curatorial notes about each artwork, the site includes photographs and thumbnail biographies of the artists; a timeline of movements within modern and contemporary art history; and notes about themes, media, styles, terms, and geographical centers important in the development of modern and contemporary art. Video excerpts are included for fiveof the artists.

MMoCA Collects also serves to generate excitement about the museum’s reopening on April 23, 2006, in Overture Center for the Arts. The museum’s new facility, designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, includes a total of 11,800 square feet of gallery space. One of those spaces—the new Henry Street Gallery— will be devoted to shows from MMoCA’s permanent collection. The opening exhibition in this gallery will present selected artworks from MMoCA Collects.

The “For Teachers” section of MMoCA Collects includes detailed lesson plans developed by Wisconsin teachers Jeanell Dailey, classroom teacher at Taylor Prairie Elementary School, Collage Grove; Susan Hoffman, reading specialist at DeForest-area schools; Ann Perry Parker, art teacher at Merrimac Elementary School, Merrimac; Larry Stephens, art teacher at Middleton High School, Middleton; and Susan Sewell, principal and former science teacher, Columbus School District. Images and lesson plans suitable for all grade levels may be downloaded for classroom use at no charge.

These practical, classroom-tested lessons integrate the visual arts with language arts, social studies, life sciences, and math. According to Susan Sewell, students at Columbus Elementary School were enthusiastic about the integrated aspects of the lessons she developed. “Our third graders were studying the wetlands of Louisiana and created a mosaic alligator, which now greets students and adults as they enter school. Second graders, who were studying birds, created sculptural birds out of recycled materials. This was a wonderful way of encouraging them to study details such as the beak and feet.”

Children introduced to MMoCA Collects at school may continue their exploration at home or in a library; they can also visit the museum to see the actual works featured online.

Artists whose works are shown in MMoCA Collects are Romare Bearden; Joan Brown; Roger Brown; Deborah Butterfield; Sonya Y.S. Clark; John Coplans; John Steuart Curry; Vernon Fisher; Sam Francis; Leon Golub; Philip Guston; Todd Hido; Frida Kahlo; Ellsworth Kelly; Jin Soo Kim; William Klein; Käthe Kollwitz; Jacob Lawrence; Roy Lichtenstein; Jim Nutt; Claes Oldenburg; José Clemente Orozco; Ed Paschke; Joseph Raffael; Paul Shambroom; Cindy Sherman; Hollis Sigler; Fred Stonehouse; Ursula von Rydingsvard; and John Wilde.

Richard H. Axsom, PhD, is the principal author of MMoCA Collects. Axsom taught classes in modern and contemporary art at the University of Michigan for 28 years and is currently a consulting curator to museums, including the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.He is also the author of eight books on contemporary American artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Claes Oldenburg, Frank Stella, and Terry Winters.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities, supports Modern Art/Contemporary Art/MMoCA Collects. Additional generous support has been provided by the Steinhauer Charitable Trust and by American Family Insurance.

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