Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century
February 7, 2015 to May 17, 2015

In February 2015, MMoCA will present an in-depth and multifaceted exhibition by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz, New York-based artists whose work has been shown across the United States and internationally. The artists’ first major museum survey, this exhibition will present 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. In addition, a new painting, specifically based on the participation of the city of Madison residents with ChanSchatz, will be developed as a result of their engagement with the local community.

Eric and Heather ChanSchatz have been actively working on-site with communities throughout the world for the past fifteen years. Through ChanSchatz’s rigorous artistic process based on their socially engaging methodologies and signature visual language, the artists work with communities who embody key issues faced by society and events that have defined this generation.

The platform of participation and interactions ChanSchatz cultivate with distinct groups constitute a central element of their work: using their distinctively designed questionnaires referred to as selection sheets, and one-on-one conversations, the artists invite the public to contribute to the painting composition with their chosen ChanSchatz Characters, color combinations, and texts from the ChanSchatz Archive and Library. Based on the guests’ choices and the narratives gathered during these exchanges, ChanSchatz’s paintings bring together individuals and communities in “social landscapes” anchored to places, people, and events, yet available and open to the widest audience through ChanSchatz’s “Universals” the artists employ in their artworks. For the presentation at MMoCA, ChanSchatz will be painting large-scale wall murals to realize each of the painting installations brought together for the exhibition.

Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd from MMoCA on Vimeo.

As part of the exhibition at MMoCA, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz are undertaking a highly interactive process of engagement with the Madison city-wide community. Presented by MMoCA, ChanSchatz’s new project Madison: A Cooperative Almanac is a participatory artwork. The artists invite all in Madison to take part in creating a new inclusive and shared moment embracing the city’s collective yet layered identity.

For Madison: A Cooperative Almanac, ChanSchatz have created project elements for participants and guests to make choices and respond to. The artists have commented that their art practice brings together "the museum, the community, and artistic methodology in a context of participation, exchange, and collective creation.”

Beginning in the summer of 2014, the artists have invited the community of Madison to participate through a variety of venues, including public events, the public library, a project website, in-person at the museum, and others. Each participant will be a vital part of this artwork. For more information on participating in the Madison: A Cooperative Almanac project, please email

As a result of this open call, collective visual selections and narrative dialogues from Madison will form the core of the artwork. Through choice and expression, the artists hope to reflect and contribute to the spirit of Madison in the creation of this new artwork.

Generous funding for Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century has been provided by BMO Private Bank; the National Endowment for the Arts; Promega Corporation; Karen and Craig Christianson; Ellen Rosner and Paul J. Reckwerdt; Steinhauer Charitable Trust; Ben Marcus and Katie Dowling-Marcus; William Henry Chan, MD and Janet E. Wong, DDS; Darcy Kind and Marc Vitale; Hooper Corporation/General Heating & Air Conditioning; J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.; Iva Schatz and Stefani Schatz and Joseph Duggan; Lesa Caldarella-Wong and Wardon Wong; The Woo & Wainger Charitable Fund; Vycom Plastics and Scranton Products; Jabez Technologies Inc.; CNC Software; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.



Related Programming

Friday, February 6 · 6–9 pm
MMoCA Night: Opening Reception
The spirit of Madison will be seen and felt as MMoCA welcomes one and all to celebrate the opening of Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. Beginning at 6 pm, guests may preview the exhibition, which includes works informed by the artists’ interactive process of engagement with the Madison community. At 6:30 pm MMoCA director Stephen Fleischman will lead a conversation with the artists about the works included in the exhibition, while exploring the artists’ unique process. Local bands, Golpe Tierra and No Name String Band, will blend sounds in a live performance. Delicious hors d’oeuvres from Fresco will be passed. This special event will welcome all guests free of charge. more »

Friday, February 6 · 6:30–7:30 pm
A Conversation with Eric and Heather ChanSchatz
A Lussier Family Lecture
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz will talk with MMoCA director Stephen Fleischman about their collaboration and methods of involving global communities in their creative process. The artists have worked together for the past twenty years, developing a lexicon of visual imagery that they employ in their large-scale, abstract paintings.

Friday, March 6 · 6–9 pm
MMoCA Night
This MMoCA Nights gathering will continue to probe Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. Guests may explore the exhibition from 6-9 pm. At 6:30 pm Melanie Herzog will lead a gallery talk entitled Art as a Force for Social Change. Members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and others will read original poems crafted in response to Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century from 7:30 to 8:15 pm. Enjoy live music from The Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Band, hors d’oeuvres from Fresco, and a cash bar. Free for MMoCA members / $10 for non-members. more »

Friday, March 6 · 6:30–7 pm
Melanie Herzog: Art as a Force for Social Change
Art alone cannot change the world, yet it can influence individual and collective thought and action. This talk will consider the practices of artists whose work addresses issues of social concern and conveys their idealized visions. The talk will explore art that emerges from interactions among socially engaged artists and broader communities, resulting in communal expressions of peoples’ experiences, hopes, and individual stories.

Melanie Herzog is professor of art history at Edgewood College, teaching courses on a range of subjects. She is a leading scholar on the work of Elizabeth Catlett and the Taller de Grafica Popular, and has written extensively on the social documentary photographer Milton Rogovin. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree and a doctorate in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. MMoCA Nights admission $10/Members free.

Friday, March 6 · 7:30–8:15 pm
Poets Respond to Madison
In this special evening of poetry, members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFoP), Madison’s Poets Laureate, Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman, Wisconsin's Poet Laureate Kimberly Blaeser, and others will read original works inspired by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century.

You too are encouraged to share your vision(s) of the city through Twitter using #writeyourmadison. All tweets sent by February 15 will contribute to a group collage poem that will be performed at the event. Write Your Madison is a digital place-making project by Madison's Poets Laureate and Cowfeather Press that invites collaboration and conversation through poetry about Madison. Learn more at

Poets Respond to Madison is organized in conjunction with Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century and the artists’ project, Madison: A Cooperative Almanac, by MMoCA’s education department in partnership with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFoP) and Madison’s Poets Laureate. MMoCA Nights admission $10/Members free.

Saturday, March 7 · 1–1:30 pm
Drop-In Tour
Join a thought-provoking exploration of Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century focused on the artists’ work with international communities including American soldiers in Iraq, coal miners in Pennsylvania, Cairo citizens in the Arab Spring, and stateless children in Thailand. Led by MMoCA docent Susan Hoffman, this free guided tour provides tools to consider artists’ creative decisions and develop meaningful interpretations of their work. Meet in the MMoCA lobby.

Saturday, April 11 · 1–1:30 pm
Drop-In Tour
Consider the ideas expressed in Eric and Heather ChanSchatz’s project, Madison: A Cooperative Almanac, commissioned by MMoCA on the occasion of their exhibition. Led by MMoCA docent Ann Kohl-Re, this free guided tour provides tools to consider artists’ creative decisions and develop meaningful interpretations of their work. Meet in the MMoCA lobby.


MMoCAkids ArtPack
Stop by the reception desk in the lobby and ask for the MMoCAkids ArtPack, the museum’s hands-on discovery kit for exploring art. The ArtPack is filled with activities that tap into thoughts and feelings about a work of art, or encourage close looking at artists' creative decisions. Also included are drawing materials and other interactive tools for use in the galleries or rooftop sculpture garden. Use the ArtPack to make your own collaborative drawing after exploring Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century.

Kids' Art Adventures
Kids’ Art Adventures invite families to make art together in MMoCA’s classroom following guided discussion of art on view in the museum’s exhibitions. Six- to ten-year-olds and their families should meet promptly at 1 pm in MMoCA’s lobby; children must be accompanied by an adult. Space at Kids’ Art Adventures is limited to thirty children and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kids’ Art Adventures is generously funded by American Family Insurance. more »

February 8 · 1–2:30 pm
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz are creating an abstract portrait of Madison based on the choices and ideas of its citizens. Collaborate with your loved ones to create an abstract painting that represents all of you.


Teaching Page
The Eric and Heather ChanSchatz teaching page features analysis of PTG.0137 War (Iraq) / American soldiers and military personnel serving in Iraq, 2009-2015, biographical information on the artist, discussion questions, and links to additional resources for related context. Effective as an introduction to a museum visit, the page also is valuable as an ongoing classroom resource.

Experience cutting-edge contemporary art through a tour of Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. Learn more about tours here.