Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Contact Info: 

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

Richard H. Axsom, Curator of Collections
608.257.0158 x 249 or

High resolution images are available at

Making Visible the Invisible

Making Visible the Invisible
Abstract Art from MMoCA's Permanent Collection
Opens September 8, 2007

MADISON, WI – A new exhibition of abstract works from the permanent collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will be on view in the museum's Henry Street Gallery beginning September 8, 2007. The exhibition, organized by MMoCA's curator of collections Dr. Richard H. Axsom, will include painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, and prints. Making Visible the Invisible presents works by important modern and contemporary artists, including Alexander Calder, Paul Caponigro, Sam Francis, Mary Heilmann, Sol LeWitt, Barbara Hepworth, and Ellsworth Kelly, among others.
Richard Axsom calls abstract art “an expression of pure form and color, analogous to music.” In choosing works for the exhibition, Axsom says, he sought to demonstrate the “array of poetic meanings that have been ascribed to abstract forms, including a concern for the effect of abstract shape on our perceptions; a wish to map conceptual structures; and attempts to make visible the invisible world of nature's underlying patterns and forces.”
Also described as “non-objective” or “non-representational,” abstract art has carried a rich variety of meanings since its inception in the second decade of the twentieth century. At the time, abstraction was a radical departure in Western art. For nearly five centuries, art had been based upon faithful recreations of the visible world as seen by the human eye. This core idea was challenged in the later nineteenth century by the Post-Impressionists, who used non-naturalistic color and exaggerated shape to portray the feelings of the artist toward his subject. It was only a short time before artists of a new generation allowed expressive color and form to stand on their own, pried free from describing the perceived world.
Making Visible the Invisible: Abstract Art from MMoCA's Permanent Collection will preview from 5:30 to 8 pm on Friday, September 7, in conjunction with First Fridays at MMoCA. 

Exhibitions in the Henry Street Gallery are generously funded through an endowment established by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.
Hours at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art are Tuesday–Wednesday (11 am–5 pm); Thursday-Friday (11 am–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.

# # #