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Date of Release: 
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
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2016 Wisconsin Triennial Artists Announced

2016 Wisconsin Triennial Artists Announced

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art to present the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial

September 24, 2016–January 8, 2017

Opening Reception on Friday, September 23, 6-9 pm


MADISON, WI—The 2016 Wisconsin Triennial, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s exploration of contemporary art statewide, will feature works by 34 individual artists and three pairs of artists working in collaboration. MMoCA’s curatorial staff selected new works of art by established and emerging artists through a rigorous review process, organizing an exhibition that will provide audiences with a visually compelling and thought-provoking experience.

This year's Wisconsin Triennial will open with a reception beginning at 6 pm on Friday, September 23. The exhibition will be on view in the museum's lobby, State Street Gallery, Imprint Gallery, main galleries, and rooftop sculpture garden through January 8, 2017. A cornerstone of MMoCA's exhibition programming, the Triennial captures the richness and variety of artistic expressions across the state and showcases emerging trends and themes being addressed within the contemporary art world.

“The exhibition will bring forward some artists early in their career or who haven’t been widely recognized, as well as show new directions by more established artists,” stated Stephen Fleischman, MMoCA director. “The selection process was difficult due to the strong work being created by artists across the state. The artwork by the participating artists will most certainly present a compelling experience for exhibition visitors.”

The 2016 Triennial will feature several site-specific sculptures and installations designed for spaces in the museum, as well as completed works transported from artists’ studios. Paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and video are among the media represented, reflecting the diversity of approaches artists undertake in their explorations of process and content. The included artworks will address topical issues such as the consequences of environmental destruction, the staging and representation of social and cultural identity, and the subjective impacts of our current political and racial climate—all hallmarks of artistic concerns in the 21st century.

Artists participating in the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial:

Emily Arthur (Madison), printmaking

Brendan Baylor (Ashland), printmaking

Lois Bielefeld (Shorewood), photography

Ted Brusubardis (Milwaukee), multimedia installation

Derrick Buisch (Madison), painting

James Cagle (Sturgeon Bay), photography

Victor Castro (Madison), social sculpture

Ray Chi (Milwaukee), site-specific sculpture

Spatula & Barcode (Madison), performance

Craig Clifford (Appleton), ceramics

Portia Cobb (Milwaukee), video

Katy Cowan (Milwaukee), painting

Kristy Deetz (De Pere), painting

R. Christian Egger (Marshfield), photography

Carol Emmons (Green Bay), installation

Amy Fichter (Menomonie) photography

Nicholas Frank (Milwaukee), sculpture/installation

David R. Harper (Sheboygan), installation

Helen Hawley (Madison), multimedia installation

Stephen Hilyard (Madison), video installation

John Hitchcock (Madison), printmaking

Sky Hopinka (Milwaukee), video

Romano Johnson (Madison), painting

Michael Kautzer (Sussex), sculpture/installation

Helen Lee (Madison), glass

Linda Levinson (La Crosse), photography

Colin Matthes (Milwaukee), drawing

Shana McCaw & Brent Budsberg (Milwaukee), installation

Meg Mitchell (Madison), sound installation

Joseph Mougel (Milwaukee), photography/performance/video installation

Daniel O’Neal (Stevens Point), painting

Suzanne Rose (Forestville), photography

Christopher Rowley (Madison), painting

SALYER + SCHAAG (Madison), performance

T.L. Solien (Madison), painting

Gregory Vershbow (Madison), photography

Xiaohong Zhang (Fort Atkinson), printmaking and paper-cutting

The jury process involved a careful review of material submitted by more than 600 artists, followed by visits to over 95 artist studios across the state. MMoCA’s curatorial team, consisting of senior curator Richard H. Axsom, curator of education Sheri Castelnuovo, director Stephen Fleischman, and associate curator Leah Kolb, selected 34 individual artists and three artist pairs for inclusion in the exhibition.

The 2016 Wisconsin Triennial serves as a platform to engender and celebrate artistic invention, and stands as a testament to the dedication and sophistication of the artists working throughout the state. Approximately two-thirds are participating in the Triennial for the first time, with the final roster including a diverse mix of artists at all points in their careers, from practicing artists with national reputations to recent MFA graduates.



Among the distinctive works that will be on view in this year's Triennial:

Brendan Baylor mobilizes a variety of printmaking techniques to address environmental concerns. Focusing on the history of specific locations, including his current home of Ashland, Wisconsin, he blends rigorous research and artistic practice to foster dialogues about the impact of human intervention on the natural world.

Lois Bielefeld photographs the people and communities around her, creating bodies of work inspired by the emotion behind daily life. In her Weeknight Dinner series, Bielefeld explores the nightly ritual of eating a meal. Although all of her subjects engage in the same custom, each photograph takes us inside the private space of the home, and reveals the significant nuances inherent in this shared convention.

Ray Chi, a Milwaukee-based artist who originally studied architecture, utilizes his formal training to create playful sculptures. Using unusual materials, such as foam pool noodles, he makes intriguing structures whose bright colors and imaginative forms draw the eye and inspire a childlike sense of fun. For the Triennial, he will create a site-responsive sculpture for the museum’s rooftop sculpture garden. 

Portia Cobb is a video artist who produces short documentaries, experimental videos, and photographic essays. Her poetic sensibility informs her explorations of African American history and culture, and her investigations of the politics of place and identity. Cobb will present a selection of vignettes from her most recent project, Performing Grace.

Sky Hopinka just received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in film, video and new genres. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Hopinka draws on his interest in indigenous linguistic concepts to produce videos that interrogate representation, history, and memory. In his experimental work Jáaji, mobilizes his tribal heritage language, Hočąk, to addresses his personal connection to his father.

Michael Kautzer utilizes his background in architecture to build miniaturized versions of barns, cities, and railroads. His emphasis on bright colors and simple shapes allow for formal investigations, while the structures’ interactive nature inspires the playfulness of childhood.

Meg Mitchell combines carefully constructed hand-made objects with contemporary digital media. For her recent interactive sound installations, she sews together wooden horns to resemble Victorian-era phonographs, which contain motion-activated audio devices that offer an evolving narrative.     


To date, generous support for the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial has been provided by the David and Paula Kraemer Fund; Ellen Rosner and Paul J. Reckwerdt; BioSentinel INC; Future Foam; National Guardian Life Insurance; Hiebing; Dynee and Barney Sheafor; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.


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 four 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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