Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or

MMoCA Spring to Fall 2015 Exhibitions

MADISON, WI – The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) announces a slate of thoughtful exhibitions, both intimate and expansive, that feature artwork by artists working today and building international reputations, as well as work by established, internationally renowned artists.

The museum has developed an abundant schedule of talks, events, films, workshops, and kids programming to complement the exhibitions. These are typically free of charge, as is admission to MMoCA.

Young at Art

State Street Gallery: March 28 through May 10, 2015

Organized biennially, 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 MMoCA and the school district’s Fine Arts Department. Each of Madison’s public school art teachers is invited to submit up to three works of art for the exhibition; these may include individual works as well as those made collaboratively. This process allows for the full range of technique, subject matter, and mediums to be represented, including drawing, painting, collage, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, found objects, and media arts. Young at Art calls attention to children’s creative potential and to the scope and variety of individual expression. It also highlights the high caliber of studio art instruction in Madison’s public schools, as well as the integration of art history and cross-cultural studies in the school art curriculum.

In addition to the exhibition, five works of art from Young at Art will be featured on billboards throughout Madison over the coming year. MMoCA is pleased to be able to broaden awareness of Young at Art, MMoCA family programming, and the importance of art education through this new partnership with Adams Outdoor Advertising.

Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century

Main galleries: February 7 through May 17, 2015

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is currently presenting a major survey of work by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz, who have garnered international recognition for their vibrant, abstract paintings created in conjunction with communities across the world. An in-depth and multifaceted exhibition, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century will be on view in the main galleries through May 17, 2015.

This exhibition presents large-scale paintings created in conjunction with international communities, including American soldiers in Iraq, coal miners in Pennsylvania, Cairo citizens in the Arab Spring, and stateless children in Thailand. Central to their work at MMoCA will be a new artwork undertaken in collaboration with a wide spectrum of the Madison community, further extending the scope and scale of the artists’ work.

Wisconsin Pastorale: The Early Paintings of Lois Ireland

State Street Gallery: May 16 through July 19, 2015

A confident line and deft handling of color distinguish the work of Lois Ireland, a child prodigy who became an accomplished painter early in life. Wisconsin Pastorale: The Early Paintings of Lois Ireland presents a selection of Lois Ireland’s Wisconsin landscape paintings. Ireland embraced American Regionalism, a revival of Realism that took place around World War II. This movement celebrated national identity and offered the beauty and simplicity of the countryside as an antidote to the rigors of the modern age.

Ireland’s work, when she was just fourteen, caught the attention of John Steuart Curry, the famed American Regionalist painter who quickly became her mentor. She produced her most important regionalist work over the next decade, through her teens and early 20s, continuing the tradition of such well-known artists as Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, and Grant Wood. Wisconsin Pastorale: The Early Paintings of Lois Ireland, presents over twenty of Ireland’s paintings from this period.

StoryBook: Narrative in Contemporary Art

Henry Street Gallery: August 15, 2014 through May 31, 2015

StoryBook explores narrative and storytelling in contemporary art. It presents works of art from the permanent collection by such artists as Robert Barnes, Romare Bearden, Richard Bosman, Roger Brown, Warrington Colescott, and Gladys Nilsson.

Throughout the history of art, stories have been “told” in a variety of ways. Conventional approaches to illustrating narratives have included showing multiple events in a single scene, sequential panels, or a single frame where stories are based on a written text and thus rely upon the viewer’s prior familiarity with them. More recent approaches have added narratives derived from artists’ biographies or story lines that are implied or ambiguous, and often ask viewers to create or complete the story. As this exhibition demonstrates, the ancient art of telling stories continues to be a vital tradition.


Main galleries: June 6 through August 23, 2015

Coordinates draws upon MMoCA’s permanent collection to examine the use of number in modern and contemporary art. The word “coordinates” refers to a set of numbers that locates a point on a plane or in space. Numbers are for counting, measuring, labeling, coding, and theorizing on reality. Galileo, the father of modern physics, famously declared that “Nature is writ in number.” They have been critical to the symbolic languages of philosophy, religion, and the sciences that attempt to describe the underlying, often mystical, nature of reality. Numbers have also had a major place in the history of art. They have shaped proportional systems for rendering the human figure, architectural designs, and the world around us—both visible and invisible.

This tradition continues in modern and contemporary art, as evidenced in the works included in this exhibition by artists Alice Aycock, Jennifer Bartlett, John Cage, Al Held, Sol LeWitt, Donald Lipski, and Robert Mangold, among others. By incorporating grids, perspective systems, mappings, diagrams, and randomness, many artists continue to create works of art poeticized by numbers.

Coordinates was organized on the occasion of the eighth annual Public Humanities Conference sponsored by the Center for the Humanities in Madison, Wisconsin. This year’s theme, “Humanities by the Numbers,” provides an entry point to discuss the variety of ways in which numbers have a place in the humanities.

Death in Venice: Warrington Colescott and Thomas Mann

Henry Street Gallery: June 6, 2015 through May, 2016

A leading American printmaker and satirist, Warrington Colescott continues the tradition of Francisco Goya, William Hogarth, and Honoré Daumier. Residing in Wisconsin and long-affiliated with the Department of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colescott is widely known for his innovative use of intaglio techniques. 

When approached by Aquarius Press to create illustrations for a deluxe livre d’artiste, a tradition of matching author and artist that originated in Paris in the late nineteenth century, Colescott immediately named Thomas Mann’s celebrated novella Death in Venice as his first choice. The following year he completed and published a portfolio of ten color etchings illustrating Mann’s text.

The exhibition Death in Venice brings together a broad array of works. It includes the original series of vibrant color prints as well as a dramatic monochromatic version that Colescott produced with the same copper plates in black and white with subtle washes of color. Both sets of etchings come from the museum’s permanent collection. Presented together, the two series show how variables of color can dramatically alter our emotional responses to the same image. To showcase Colescott’s creative process, the artist has generously loaned to MMoCA a body of his related preparatory drawings, prints and other materials.

Natasha Nicholson: The Artist in Her Museum

State Street Gallery: August 22 through November 8, 2015

Throughout her career, Natasha Nicholson has intertwined her life with her art, transforming her home into an unconventional space where she constantly experiments with objects, form, and ideas. This exhibition reveals how Nicholson thinks and works, while providing a glimpse into the interconnectedness between her personal and artistic lives. Her four studios, to be reconstructed within MMoCA’s State Street Gallery, include the Thinking Room, where all work begins; Strata, her sculpture studio and gallery; the Studiolo, the Italian word for Cabinet of Curiosities; and the Bead Room, where the artist creates necklaces and exhibits her extensive collection of beads and ethnic jewelry. 

The exhibition will invite visitors to engage with the forms and ideas that have shaped and continue to inform Nicholson's practice. This unusual yet inviting installation will encourage museum attendees to consider the process of artistic creation, while simultaneously serving as a space to present a comprehensive career survey. The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with four essays offering insight into Natasha Nicholson's significant career.


Housed in a soaring, Cesar Pelli designed building, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art provides free exhibitions and education programs that engage people in modern and contemporary art. The galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The museum is open: Tuesday–Thursday: noon – 5pm; Friday: noon – 8pm; Saturday: 10am – 8pm; Sunday: noon – 5pm; and is closed on Mondays.     

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