Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Contact Info: 

Katie Kazan, Director of Public Information 
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Elizabeth Tucker, Director of External Services
608.257.0158 x245 or

Form Follows Inspiration at Design MMoCA

Form Follows Inspiration at Design MMoCA
2012 April 26-May 6, 2012 
Gala Preview:  April 25, 2012

High-resolution images are available upon request.

MADISON, WI —This spring’s Design MMoCA will present more projects by more designers working in more design disciplines--and for a longer period of time--than ever before. A signature event for the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Design MMoCA celebrates the intersection of art and design with an exhibition of projects by top area designers. Each participant is challenged to develop an out-of-the-box, no-holds-barred design inspired by a work from the museum’s permanent collection.


This year’s Design MMoCA will add to the event’s established repertoire, which in former years was limited to interior design and architecture. The 2012 Design MMoCA will expand to include graphic design, industrial design, and other related disciplines. The resulting projects will be on view in the galleries and lobby of the museum--itself designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli--during regular museum hours from Thursday, April 26, through Sunday, May 6, 2012. Admission to Design MMoCA 2012 is free.

The Design MMoCA Process

Whatever their medium, training, or focus, each participating designer begins by selecting a work of art from the museum’s permanent collection to use as inspiration for their design installation. The museum’s collection of 5,000 works includes paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, and three-dimensional works by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. Among the pieces chosen by this year’s Design MMoCA participants are works by Christo and Jean Claude, Jim Dine, Sol Lewitt, and Claes Oldenberg, among others.


Visitors to Design MMoCA will be able to view all of the chosen artworks, as well as the projects they have inspired. Each work will be either incorporated within the installation or hung adjacent to it. Installations will include rooms, interactive media displays, furniture pieces, and graphics projects.

Participants and Projects

Participants in Design MMoCA 2012 are:

Chapa Design
Matt Cook and Molly Wallner
Karina Cutler-Lake
Design Concepts
Steven Driscoll Hixson
Heejin Hwang
Heath Matysek and Julie Vondervellen
Mark S.C. Nelson
Doug Pahl and Kate Pahl 
Pitch Interactive
Pleasant Living
Sager Designs and UW-Madison Interior Design Students
Lauren Slattery
Philip Stankard
University of Wisconsin Design Studies Students


Initial project descriptions reflect a wide variety of concepts, scale, and interests:

  • Rick Shaver and Lee Melahn of Pleasant Living will create a glamorous, industrial-chic dining room inspired by Carl Corey’s 2008 photograph titled 2090--At Random, Milwaukee.
  • Pitch Interactive, a data visualization firm, will design and build an interactive artwork powered by a Kinect sensor. Inspired by the bold, candy-colored stripes of Gene Davis’ 1969 screenprintBattle for Grown-Ups, a screen of vertical stripes will change in color and thickness based upon what the viewer is wearing and his or her distance from the screen.
  • Sager Design, working in collaboration with UW-Madison Interior Design students, will take inspiration from the primary color scheme and basic geometrical forms of Pat Stier’s Abstraction, Belief, Desire (1981) to create a cardboard disaster relief shelter. Students will engage in the process of design thinking--a human-centered, collaborative, optimistic approach to design--to create a shelter intended to give its residents a sense of place during a time of homelessness.

Gala Opening and Related Events

A gala preview from 6 to 9:30 pm on Wednesday, April 25, will support the museum’s year-round free-admissions policy. In addition to previewing the exhibition, guests will have the opportunity to mingle with members of the design community and sample delectable hors d’oeuvres from Fresco, the museum’s rooftop restaurant. The cost to attend is $65 for museum members and $75 for non-members. Tickets may be purchased beginning in early March; contact the museum at 608.257.0158 for further information.

Other special programming includes a free public meet-the-designer session on Sunday, April 29, and a series of gallery talks focusing on the installations. Additional information about Design MMoCA 2012, including a detailed schedule of related talks and events, will be available at


Hiebing, the Madison-based integrated marketing and brand management firm that created marketing campaigns for Design MMoCA in 2008 and 2010, will again sponsor the event by branding Design MMoCA 2012 on the museum’s behalf. Hiebing’s earlier campaigns for Design MMoCA earned national awards, including a first-place prize in the annual design competition of the National Association of Museums. In response to the expanded scope of Design MMoCA 2012, Hiebing has taken inspiration for this year’s campaign from a work in the museum’s permanent collection: Richard Bosman’s 1984 woodcut print titled The Fall.


Generous support, to date, for Design MMoCA 2012 has also been provided by The Century House; Ben and Katie Marcus; Iconi Interiors; and Associated Housewrights; with media support provided by Madison Magazine; and WISC-TV Channel3/




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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