Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information
608.257.0158 x 237 or

2011 Exhibitions and Major Events

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art 
Announces 2011 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 approximately 5,000 works.
Exhibitions at MMoCA are free and open to the public. All information in this advance release is subject to change.

Rob and Christian Clayton: Inside Out
through January 2, 2011
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first major museum exhibition dedicated to the bold, colorful drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Rob and Christian Clayton. The Clayton Brothers collaborate closely to construct objects that are both narrative and deeply personal. Front and center are the unique people, animals, and places that occupy the outskirts of the American psyche.  
Rob and Christian Clayton: Inside Out is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and is on view in the museum’s main galleries.
True Self: The Search for Identity in Modern and Contemporary Art
through June 19, 2011
The notion of the “self,” the essential quality that makes a person distinct from all others, is a core theme in modern and contemporary art. For the artist, the true self is fluid, not fixed; layered, not clearly evident. The true self is both innate and determined by experience and culture. Never consistent, it is often self-contradictory.
True Self: The Search for Identity in Modern and Contemporary Art explores the ways artists have understood and conveyed the essence of the self—through facial expression, body language, dress, and the particulars of setting—in a selection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs. Drawn from MMoCA’s permanent collection, the exhibition lists a broad range of artists, including Thomas Hart Benton, Sonya Clark, Chuck Close, John Coplans, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Leslie, Diego Rivera, Cindy Sherman, Hollis Sigler, Raphael Soyer, and Ida Wyman.
True Self is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and is on view in the museum’s Henry Street Gallery.
Shirin Neshat: Rapture  
Through March 6, 2011
Projected on opposing walls, Shirin Neshat’s seminal video Rapture (1999) simultaneously presents the male and female experience in Iran, casting them as separate realities. As men wearing casual Western clothing traverse the cobbled stones of an ancient city, women in full-length black chadors cross a barren desert landscape. Other scenes show homosocial interactions that mirror and deflect one another: men pray; women chat or wash clothes.
Neshat, who was born and raised in Iran but has lived as an expatriate in New York for decades, references Persian, Asian, and Western art traditions in her films. With probing insight, sensitivity, and longing, Rapture presents, for Western eyes, the complexities of life and gender politics in Iran.
Rapture is on view in the museum’s State Street Gallery. It is on extended loan from The Art Institute of Chicago.
Shinique Smith: Menagerie 
January 22–May 8, 2011
In her first large-scale museum exhibition, multi-media artist Shinique Smith presents site-specific installations, as well as two- and three-dimensional works created over the last decade. Shinique Smith: Menagerie presents almost fifty installations, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and works on paper from 2002 to the present, as well as two videos.

Works included in Shinique Smith: Menagerie combine complex social and cultural references; they also demonstrate diverse art historical associations and techniques, including Abstract Expressionism, colorfield painting, minimalist sculpture, and Japanese calligraphy. Smith’s sculptures and installations are composed of found objects and second-hand clothing tied together to form a variety of forms, including bales, totems, and reclining figures. Clothing and objects from friends and family also appear in her two-dimensional mixed-media works, imbuing them, like her sculptures, with personal meaning.

Trained as an art educator as well as a visual artist, Smith will work with students from the Malcolm Shabazz City High School in Madison and the Middleton Alternative Senior High School to install No dust, no stain (2006) at MMoCA. This complex work, which includes sculptural and two-dimensional elements, is reconfigured for each new installation and demonstrates Smith’s ability to dissolve the line between the object and the surrounding architecture.

Shinique Smith: Menagerie was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida, in association with Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.

Young at Art
March 20–May 15, 2011

Young at Art presents works of art by Madison Metropolitan School District students in kindergarten through Grade 12. The exhibition is the result of a long-standing collaboration between the museum and the school district’s fine arts department. In preparing for the exhibition, each of Madison’s public school art teachers is invited to submit up to three works created by his or her students. This process yields a full range of technique, subject matter, and media, including drawing, painting, collage, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, and computer-generated art.

Young at Art is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Madison Metropolitan School District and will be on view in MMoCA’s State Street Gallery.

Hair Affair: The Art of Hair
April 28, 2011
Hair Affair: The Art of Hair will showcase exotically artful hair sculptures designed and executed by premier Madison-area salons. Hair sculptures displayed on live models will take center-stage in a runway show in the museum’s stunning lobby and glass staircase. The evening event will also feature DJ grooves, seasonal hors d’oeuvres from Fresco, cocktails, and a silent auction of spa and pampering-inspired packages.

Hair Affair is a fundraiser for the free exhibition and education programs of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Gallery Night
May 6, 2011 
Gallery Night is Madison’s semiannual celebration of the visual arts. From 5 to 9 pm on Friday, May 6, 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

Picturing Technology: Land and Machine
May 21–August 21, 2011

Commonly thought to be a positive force, technical innovations—from the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Age—operate as a hallmark of society. And, yet, throughout the ages, there have been reactions against technology: movements against the advances of science and innovation and in search of purer, more natural lifestyles.

Picturing Technology explores society’s conflicted responses to technical innovation as evidenced in works from the permanent collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Photographs, paintings, prints, and installations by Tom Arendt, Warrington Colescott, Jim Dine, Vernon Fisher, Archie Lieberman, O. Winston Link, Claes Oldenburg, and Alyson Shotz among others, show objects such as airplanes, guns, ships, and trains in urban and rural contexts. Works in the exhibition also utilize and address recent transformations like computers and digital photography that have allowed information and the storage of information to mushroom.

Picturing Technology functions as a broad back-drop to a concurrent MMoCA exhibition, The Industrial Modern (May 28–September 4, 2011), which focuses on the impacts of industrial change on urban landscapes and communities in the early twentieth century.

Picturing Technology is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.

The Industrial Modern
May 28, 2011–September 4, 2011

The rapid changes precipitated by the Industrial Revolution transformed the physical, economic, and socio-political landscape of Europe and the United States. These changes, including mechanization, regimented labor, urbanization, coincided with a growing interest among Western artists in visually representing the rhythms and realities of everyday life. Presenting artists’ conflicted responses to industry, labor, and the urban environment from the middle of the nineteenth century to contemporary times, The Industrial Modern explores the tensions inherent in the “culture of progress.”

Drawn from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection, The Industrial Modern features works by William Gropper, William Klein, Käthe Kollwitz, Ferdinand Léger, Louis Lozowick, Joseph Pennell, and Ben Shahn, among others. Each of these artists takes a unique approach to the questions and challenges surrounding the nature of industrial labor, the dynamism of the urban metropolis, and the power of the machine.

In contrast to the urban focus of The Industrial Modern, the concurrent MMoCA exhibition,Picturing Technology: Land and Machine (May 21 – August 21, 2011), addresses how technological innovation transformed society’s relationship to landscape and agriculture in the rural environment.

The Industrial Modern is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and will be on view in the museum’s State Street Gallery.

E Pluribus Unum: Artists Picture Society
June 25, 2011–Summer 2012

E Pluribus Unum: Artists Picture Society is the second in a trilogy of exhibitions that examines defining themes in the art of our time, in this case the nature of society. The first exhibition focused on the notion of the “self” as a core theme in modern and contemporary art. The final exhibition in the series, opening in 2012, will address the nature of reality, as explored by modern and contemporary artists.

The Nature of Society is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and will be on view in the museum’s Henry Street Gallery.

Art Fair on the Square
July 9–10, 2011

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.

Dates and hours for Art Fair on the Square 2011 are: Saturday, July 9 (9 am–6 pm) and Sunday, July 10 (10 am–5 pm).

The Chicago Imagists
Paintings, Sculptures, and Works on Paper from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
September 10, 2011–January 2, 2012

In the late 1960s, Chicago audiences were introduced to a vibrant new generation of artists whose work would soon be identified collectively as Chicago Imagism. These young artists were drawn—like the Pop artists in New York, Los Angeles, and London, who were a generation older—to the everyday urban world and popular culture. But despite these common interests, Chicago Imagist artists were more focused on a fantasy art of brilliant color, graphic strength, and free line; their sources and inspirations included comic books, outsider art, and surrealism. The Chicago Imagists trafficked in exuberant and irreverent satire that spoke to the political and social foibles, violence, and whimsy of contemporary life at the end of the tumultuous 1960s.

The Chicago Imagists: Paintings, Sculptures, and Works on Paper from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents more than 120 works by Roger Brown, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Ray Yoshida, and other members of this significant group. Included are consummate paintings, sculptures, and unique works on paper from the museum’s Bill McClain Collection of Chicago Imagism. This exceptional private collection, built over thirty years of close contact with the original artists, was acquired by MMoCA in 2010 and will be presented to a public audience for the first time as part of The Chicago Imagists exhibition.

The Chicago Imagists is organized by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.

Arts Ball 2011
October 29, 2011
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 18–20, 2011
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 live auction, and the return of the Rediscovered Art & Treasures Sale.
Holiday Art Fair is a collaborative project of MMoCA and Overture Center for the Arts in support of their free exhibitions and community outreach programs.


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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