Past Exhibitions

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

September 12, 2015 to January 3, 2016

Taking Their Place: Recent Acquisitions in Context

In celebration of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s ten-year anniversary in its striking Cesar Pelli-designed building, MMoCA will present Taking Their Place: Recent Acquisitions in Context, on view September 12 through January 3. Drawn exclusively from the museum’s permanent collection, Taking Their Place highlights more than 50 works in various media that have entered MMoCA’s collection within the past decade, several of which are on display for the first time.

August 22, 2015 to November 8, 2015

Natasha Nicholson: The Artist in Her Museum

The work and world of Natasha Nicholson will be on view in Natasha Nicholson: The Artist in Her Museum at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, August 22 through November 8. Nicholson is known for her assemblages and involvement in the contemporary resurgence of Cabinets of Curiosities. This exhibition is a rare opportunity for visitors to view the work of an artist who, by her own admission, never leaves the role of artist, collector, and observer.

June 6, 2015 to August 23, 2015


Coordinates draws upon the museum’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. Its function is determinative. Numbers are for counting, measuring, labeling, coding, and theorizing on reality.

June 6, 2015 to April 17, 2016

Death in Venice: Warrington Colescott and Thomas Mann

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, he is widely known for his innovative use of intaglio techniques. In 1970, Aquarius Press (Baltimore, Maryland; New York) invited him to submit a list of texts he might wish to illustrate for a deluxe livre d’artiste—a tradition of matching author and artist that originated in Paris in the late nineteenth century.

May 16, 2015 to July 19, 2015

Wisconsin Pastorale: The Early Paintings of Lois Ireland

In this exhibition, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents a selection of Lois Ireland’s Wisconsin landscape paintings. Ireland, born in Waunakee, Wisconsin and spending the majority of her life in the state, is known for her regionalist scenes of the 1940s and 50s. In 1942, at the age of fourteen, she caught the attention of John Steuart Curry, the first artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Curry encouraged her to study art and brought her into the newly-formed Wisconsin Regional Art Program.

March 28, 2015 to May 10, 2015

Young at Art 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.

February 7, 2015 to May 17, 2015

Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century

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.

December 6, 2014 to March 15, 2015

Narayan Mahon: Lands in Limbo

In December 2014, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art will present the first museum exhibition showcasing Narayan Mahon’s photographic journey through the unrecognized countries of Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, Transnistria, Nagorno Karabakh, and Somaliland. With a selection of photographs from each of the artist’s five geographically-based series, Narayan Mahon: Lands in Limbo explores the day-to-day realities of living in countries that remain unacknowledged by the larger international community.

September 14, 2014 to January 4, 2015

From Here to There: Alec Soth's America

One of the most compelling voices in contemporary photography, Alec Soth captures offbeat images that uncover narratives of the American experience. From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America, the artist’s first major traveling survey in the United States, will be on view at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art from September 13, 2014 through January 4, 2015. This exhibition, which was organized by the Walker Art Center in Soth’s hometown of Minneapolis, explores 15 years of Soth’s career, from 1995 to 2010.

August 23, 2014 to November 9, 2014

Jason S. Yi: A Fragile Permanence

A site-specific exhibition by Jason S. Yi will be on view in the State Street Gallery and lobby of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art from August 23 to November 9, 2014. Jason S. Yi: A Fragile Permanence draws on phenomenology, contemporary installation, and the art historical tradition of landscape painting. From the spiritual significance of East Asian mountain peaks to the rugged sublimity of the American West, Yi taps into cultural mythologies of landscape as a point of departure to address visual perception, physical experience, and cognitive uncertainty.

August 16, 2014 to May 31, 2015

StoryBook: Narrative in Contemporary Art

StoryBook explores how stories are communicated in contemporary art. To illustrate the diversity of narrative methods, the exhibition draws upon works from MMoCA’s permanent collection by such artists as Robert Barnes, Richard Bosman, Roger Brown, Warrington Colescott, Todd Hido, and Erik Weisenburger, among others. Like the contemporary novel and related literary forms, contemporary art has sustained, challenged, and expanded traditional narrative structures.

May 24, 2014 to August 24, 2014

Turn Turn Turn

Turn Turn Turn is an anthology of life’s joys and sorrows as visualized in modern and contemporary art. Inspired by the lyrical language of Ecclesiastes 3, which meditates on the circular nature of time as reflected in the seasons, the exhibition addresses the ongoing cycle of changing circumstances in the course of human events. Its title is taken from Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season), a song Pete Seeger wrote in the late 1950s and whose lyrics came from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible.

May 17, 2014 to July 27, 2014

A Tumultuous Assembly: Collage, Assemblage, and the Found Object

A Tumultuous Assembly explores the artistic legacy of collage, assemblage, and use of the found object. Initiated by Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Marcel Duchamp in 1912–13, these radical approaches to artmaking revolutionized the nature and history of modern art. By mobilizing commonplace materials, collage-based techniques elevated the objects and detritus from everyday existence into the realm of fine art.

January 25, 2014 to April 27, 2014


This exhibition explores the interconnections between the real and the imagined in early modern American art, with an emphasis on Surrealism and Magic Realism. Real/Surreal will be on view in the museum's main galleries January 25, 2014 to April 27, 2014.

January 25, 2014 to April 13, 2014

The Mystery Beneath

Drawn from MMoCA’s permanent collection, The Mystery Beneath is a companion exhibition to Real/Surreal in the main galleries. Including paintings, prints, and drawings, it explores the lasting traditions of Surrealism and Magic Realism as they developed in Wisconsin during the twentieth century.

September 21, 2013 to January 5, 2014

2013 Wisconsin Triennial

Widely regarded as the state’s most prestigious showcase of contemporary Wisconsin visual art, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Wisconsin Triennial is currently installed in spaces throughout the museum. The Triennial reflects the diversity of twenty-first century artistic practice and conceptual concerns.

June 8, 2013 to September 1, 2013

I Dream Too Much: Paintings by Leslie Smith III

I Dream Too Much: Paintings by Leslie Smith III will be on view in the State Street Gallery from June 8 through September 1, 2013. Featuring a focused selection of the artist’s work from recent years, alongside his newest canvases, I Dream Too Much will be Leslie Smith’s first solo museum exhibition.

June 7, 2013 to August 10, 2014

Los Grandes del Arte Moderno Mexicano

Los Grandes del Arte Moderno Mexicano(Masters of Mexican Modern Art) showcases the artists who, more than any others, defined Mexican Modernism in the 1920s and 1930s: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Frida Kahlo, Leopoldo Méndez, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Rufino Tamayo.

May 18, 2013 to September 1, 2013

Focal Points: American Photography Since 1950

By the end of World War II, the photographic image had become ubiquitous in everyday American life. Photographs were commonplace in the tabloid press, for example, and in large-format news magazines like Look and Life, where they took precedence over text. The fine art photograph, however, as opposed to the commercial, scientific, or family photograph, was primarily an expression of the artist’s vision, not a simple record of an event.

April 12, 2013 to May 19, 2013

Young at Art 2013

Children who receive high-quality art education develop visual literacy and creative problem solving skills that are vital for succeeding in today’s world. Presenting works of art by Madison Metropolitan School District students in kindergarten through grade twelve, Young at Art  highlights the high caliber of studio art instruction in Madison’s public schools as well as the integration of art history and cultural studies in the visual art curriculum.

January 19, 2013 to April 28, 2013

Simon Payne: Color Field Videos

The British video artist Simon Payne creates digital works that investigate the interplay of color, movement, and abstract form. Five of Payne’s short videos will be screened in MMoCA’s New Media Gallery, adjacent to the main galleries on the second floor, in conjunction with Ellsworth Kelly Prints, from January 19 through April 28, 2013.