Past Exhibitions

A complete list of exhibitions from 1979-2011 is available here

August 18, 2018 to November 11, 2018

William J. O'Brien: Reliquary

Chicago-based artist William J. O'Brien's idiosyncratic and exuberant forms are born out of an improvised and intuitive studio practice. Inspired by Modernism, as well as the history of material experimentation characteristic of Outsider Art, O'Brien's multidisciplinary practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and ceramics. His beautifully textured ceramic objects--part vessel, part body, and part abstract form--are arranged in tabletop installations. His elaborately patterned felt works and colored pencil drawings marry gestural marks with loosely repeated structures.

June 2, 2018 to September 30, 2018

The House of Sparkling Glasses: a Celluloid Experience by M. J. Paggie

The independent cinema of M. J. Paggie takes center stage in The House of Sparkling Glasses, an exhibition of sixteen short films from the late 1960s to the early 1970s that are intimately linked both to the history of Madison and to MMoCA. In 1970, the museum’s then director Cham Hendon hired Paggie to start a new film program, which evolved into a robust series of instructional filmmaking courses using the Super 8mm format, in addition to avant-garde screenings of landmark developments in underground film.

May 19, 2018 to September 2, 2018


Far Out: Art from the 1960s explores art from a decade that introduced such movements as Pop, Op, Minimalism, Kinetic, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art, while weaving in the social and historical narrative of that time. The exhibition includes works by Calvin Burnett, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Miriam Schapiro, Victor Vasarely, and the Chicago Imagists.

May 5, 2018 to August 5, 2018

Irene Grau: construction season

Irene Grau is a Spanish conceptual artist who challenges the boundaries of contemporary painting, the perception of color, and the limits of space. Taking the act of painting beyond the studio and off the canvas, she enters into the landscape to discover moments when the power of pure color alters our awareness of the world around us. In Irene Grau: construction season, a solo exhibition on view in MMoCA's State Street Gallery from May 5 through August 5, 2018, Grau will present a new body of work she began last summer during her five-week artist residency in Madison.

January 13, 2018 to May 20, 2018

José Carlos Teixeira: ON EXILE

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by José Carlos Teixeira, on view in the Imprint Gallery January 13 through May 20. Born and raised in Portugal and currently based in Wisconsin, the artist is intimately familiar with the complexities of immigration—from confronting feelings of displacement to undertaking the challenges of learning a new culture. In his artwork, Teixeira moves beyond his personal experiences to create video installations that investigate larger notions of belonging and exile.

December 2, 2017 to April 15, 2018

Jaume Plensa: Talking Continents

Internationally celebrated artist Jaume Plensa is known for his poetic approach to sculpture. He produces works of art that evoke silence and inward reflection, engaging in a creative practice informed by his deep interest in the physical manifestation of spiritual energy. On view in the museum’s State Street Gallery, Jaume Plensa: Talking Continents is an enveloping installation of suspended steel forms that appear to transcend their own physical weight and volume, and instead convey lightness, translucence, and fluidity.

December 2, 2017 to July 29, 2018
November 4, 2017 to May 6, 2018


BIG presents over thirty large-scale, modern and contemporary artworks from MMoCA’s permanent collection, including works by Sam Gilliam, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jennifer Steinkamp. Historically, large-scale art was reserved for mural paintings in the narrative tradition, but soon artists adopted large canvases to capture new and big ideas—particularly the Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s. This shift to a larger scale demanded galleries and museums adjust their spaces and viewers alter their way of engaging with the work.

September 2, 2017 to November 12, 2017

Chele Isaac: the understory

Chele Isaac is a Madison-based artist who combines moving images and sound to create fully immersive, multimedia environments. Through a careful balance of texture, tone, and repetition, Isaac weaves together elliptical cinematic narratives that eschew traditional storylines and function instead to elicit feelings of the uncanny.

The understory, a seven-channel installation projected in the round, explores interstitial moments, overlooked details, and tenuous connections that investigate the indifference of nature and one's relationship to our changing environment. 

August 11, 2017 to December 3, 2017

Rashaad Newsome: ICON

Rashaad Newsome is a New York based artist whose multidisciplinary practice combines collage, video, music, computer programming, and performance. On view in the museum’s Imprint Gallery, this exhibition focuses solely on the video-based component of the artist’s larger practice, and highlights works that showcase his engagement with the dance phenomenon of voguing.

June 17, 2017 to December 17, 2017

Sonja Thomsen: in the space of elsewhere

Milwaukee-based artist Sonja Thomsen brings her photographic way of seeing to MMoCA’s lobby and Icon in a new commissioned installation titled in the space of elsewhere. Mobilizing the properties of light and time, she created an immersive environment that plays with the way light and shadow interact with the museum’s soaring architectural features.

June 10, 2017 to October 15, 2017

Taking Sides

“A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it from going to sleep.”  - Salman Rushdie, 1989

Taking Sides explores the tradition of social critique in modern and contemporary art. Drawn from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art permanent collection, its title is taken from a quote of Salman Rushdie, the renowned novelist and essayist.

May 20, 2017 to August 6, 2017

Digital Aura

Stemming from a shared interest in fostering a dynamic local arts scene through creative collaboration, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA)  and Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL) have created a partnership to grow audiences and increase the presentation of digital-based arts throughout the city. The inaugural joint project between MMoCA and ALL is Digital Aura, an exhibition of single-channel video works on view at MMoCA from May 20 through August 6, and at ALL from May 5 through July 29. 

May 6, 2017 to August 13, 2017

Kambui Olujimi: Zulu Time

The Madison Museum of Contemporary presents a solo exhibition of new work by Kambui Olujimi, a Brooklyn native whose multi-disciplinary practice calls attention to the assumptions that underlie our understanding of the world at large. In Kambui Olujimi: Zulu Time, the artist explores, among other concerns, the interlocking systems of power and invisible hierarchies that impact our daily lives.

February 11, 2017 to April 23, 2017

Young at Art

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 Arts Education 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.

February 11, 2017 to May 14, 2017

Do Ho Suh

Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, Seoul, South Korea) is internationally acclaimed for meticulous, mesmerizing sculptures and installations that relate to his personal experiences living in both Eastern and Western cultures. Suh's move from South Korea to the United States in 1991 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design inspired his focus on the house as a primary subject.

December 2, 2016 to November 12, 2017

Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection

Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, presents an overview of developments since 1970 that have helped define contemporary photography. From the time it was commercially introduced in 1839, photography has undergone continuous technical and conceptual changes—from the first daguerreotypes to today’s digital prints.

September 24, 2016 to January 8, 2017

Wisconsin Triennial 2016

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 expression across the state, and showcases significant themes being addressed within the contemporary art world.

June 4, 2016 to August 21, 2016

Our Good Earth

Drawn from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection, Our Good Earth is an exhibition that features a wide range of artworks in many media. The exhibition addresses the varied concerns of modern and contemporary artists for the natural world: from realist landscapes to abstraction, Conceptual art to Pop art, Our Good Earth illuminates how artists reveal the marvels of nature, express compassion for the fragile beauty of flora and fauna, and caution against threats to the natural world.

May 28, 2016 to September 4, 2016

Claire Stigliani: Half-Sick of Shadows

From May 28 through September 4, MMoCA will present Claire Stigliani: Half-Sick of Shadows, an exhibition featuring a new body of work by Brooklyn-based artist Claire Stigliani. Stigliani is known for her mixed-media drawings that fuse together references to fairytales, autobiography, and pop culture to interrogate contemporary notions of femininity. For her solo show at MMoCA, the artist is moving beyond the two dimensional surface of her luminous drawings by rendering them as three-dimensional, miniaturized sets, which Stigliani then uses to create stop-motion videos. 

May 14, 2016 to November 6, 2016

Compassionate Eye: The Art of Frances Myers

In tribute to Frances Myers (19362014), the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents an overview of her highly personal art that was grounded in a mastery of craft. Myers was an innovative printmaker as well as arts educator of distinction and great influence. For twenty-five years she taught generations of students in the Art Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many of whom went on to distinguished careers in American academia.