Past Exhibitions

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

December 1, 2007 to December 17, 2008

Stephen Hilyard: The Beautiful Lie

Stephen Hilyard: The Beautiful Lie uses videos and photographic works to explore the power and reliability of the image in contemporary culture. Works in the exhibition include a recent series of compositions entitled King Wave in which Hilyard uses dramatic and doctored photographs to probe the truthfulness and iconic stature of the image. Compositions in this series show monstrous green waves coupled with diminutive images of curb architecture in Los Angeles cemeteries.

November 9, 2007 to July 13, 2008

Individual Experience: The Photographs of Ida Wyman

Madison newcomer Ida Wyman, whose career as a photojournalist began in the 1940s, is the subject of a one-person show at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Twenty-five of Wyman's black-and-white photographs are on display in the museum's Works-on-Paper Study Center.

A former resident of Bronx, New York, Wyman moved to Madison in 2006. Individual Experience: The Photographs of Ida Wyman, is her first one-person exhibition in a museum.

October 14, 2007 to January 8, 2008

Karl Wirsum: Winsome Works(some) and Hairy Who (and some others)

Karl Wirsum: Winsome Works(some) and Hairy Who (and some others) explore the work of Wirsum and his contemporaries in the charged Chicago art scene that emerged in the 1960s. The exhibitions comprise an important retrospective of Karl Wirsum's paintings and sculptures, as well as an overview of Chicago Imagism drawn from MMoCA's permanent collection and an important private collection.

September 8, 2007 to July 13, 2008

Making Visible the Invisible: Abstract Art from MMoCA’s Permanent Collection

The paintings, sculpture, and works on paper in the Henry Street Gallery explore the tradition of abstraction in the visual arts. Abstract art is an expression of pure form and color, analogous to music. It has carried a rich variety of meanings since its inception in the second decade of the twentieth century, and its history continues to the present. The exhibition will be on view through July 13, 2008.

August 11, 2007 to November 11, 2007

Tim Laun: Sunday, September 20th, 1992

On September 20, 1992, Green Bay Packers quarterback Don Majkowski was tackled to the ground and suffered a strained ligament in his ankle. Louisiana-born Brett Favre took over as quarterback. Initially, Favre’s novice colors showed through his green and yellow Packer uniform as he fumbled the ball and threw interceptions, but he soon took control. The Packers won the game, and Favre has started every game since.

August 4, 2007 to September 23, 2007

Jess: To and From the Printed Page

The artist Jess (1923-2004) emerged in the 1950s from within the literary context of Beat culture in San Francisco. The life partner of poet Robert Duncan, Jess collaborated extensively with poets and other writers, and worked with small presses and limited-edition publications throughout his career. Something of a cult artist, Jess is less widely known than some of his contemporaries, but his art is deeply revered by many.

August 4, 2007 to September 23, 2007

California Context

On view in MMoCA’s main galleries, California Context brings together selected works by California artists in the museum’s permanent collection and provides an idea of the artistic energy that surrounded Jess’s life and work on view in Jess: To and From the Printed Page.

May 5, 2007 to July 15, 2007

Wisconsin Triennial 2007

The 2007 Wisconsin Triennial  is the eleventh statewide survey and exhibition undertaken by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art since 1978. It’s also the museum’s first Triennial in its new, and greatly enlarged, Overture Center facility. Forty-three artists and three collaborative teams will display works in the main galleries, State Street Gallery, and New Media Gallery, as well as the museum’s lobby, second floor landing, rooftop sculpture garden, and a public hallway.

March 3, 2007 to April 15, 2007

Young at Art 2007

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. This process yields a full range of technique,subject matter, and media, including drawing, painting, collage, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, and computer-generated art.

February 2, 2007 to April 15, 2007

In Depth: A Closer Look at MMoCA's Permanent Collection

In Depth: A Closer Look at MMoCA’s Permanent Collection explores seven areas of strength within the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's permanent collection. The exhibition features more than one hundred paintings, prints, photographs, mixed-media works, and sculptures. These works, which together constitute the largest exhibition ever of works from the collection, will be on view in the museum’s main galleries.

December 9, 2006 to February 11, 2007

Alyson Shotz: Topologies

A veteran of the New York art world, Alyson Shotz is known internationally for works of art that address space, light, and perception. Her interest in environmental issues and topology—a branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of geometric forms that remain constant despite transformation—is also evident in her artworks.

November 5, 2006 to January 14, 2007

LeWitt x 2

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art debuted LeWitt x 2 on November 5, 2006, in its main galleries. Curated by Dean Swanson, the exhibition includes two discrete but related sections. Sol LeWitt: Structure and Line features the work of this esteemed American artist over the course of his long and prolific career. Selections from The LeWitt Collection showcases works by an exciting array of national and international artists represented in the extensive collection that LeWitt amassed with his wife Carol Androccio LeWitt.

October 19, 2006 to October 22, 2006


Trans, like the fluid medium of video, promises movement. The trans in transculturation — that complex ongoing process of cultural mixture, exchange, alteration, and invention — moves within, between, and also beyond the intricate border zones of geopolitical place, identity, body, and consciousness

July 30, 2006 to October 8, 2006

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration

For more than 30 years, Chuck Close has explored the art of printmaking in his investigation into the principles of perception. Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration explores the artist’s involvement with the varied forms and processes of printmaking. Featuring more than 100 works dating from 1972–2002, Chuck Close Prints illustrates the artist’s range of invention in etching, aquatint, lithography, handmade paper, direct gravure, silkscreen, traditional Japanese woodcut, and reduction linocut.

April 23, 2006 to November 5, 2006

At Home: Recent Acquisitions

Artworks acquired for the museum’s permanent collection since 2001 will be presented in At Home: Recent Acquisitions. This inaugural exhibition in the museum’s highly visible State Street Gallery includes significant works in a variety of media.

April 23, 2006 to September 20, 2006

Animal Series

Featuring works by William Wegman, Chris Marker, Jillian McDonald, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, and Nina Katchadourian, Animal Series explores the myriad ways that humans understand their relationship to animals. While studies of animal behavior have evolved beyond anthropomorphism to include scientific accounts of animal personalities, these works of art reveal the persisting lure of sentimentality. McDonald’s film Chester and Poncho shows two chihuahuas backed by idyllic fields of sheep.

April 23, 2006 to July 16, 2006

Between the Lakes: Artists Respond to Madison

The opening of the museum’s new facility in April 2006 coincides with the sesquicentennial of Madison’s municipal charter. The intersection of these two events is the inspiration for the museum’s major opening exhibition. Between the Lakes: Artists Respond to Madison invites seven artists to explore the layers of history, memory, and culture that have shaped the city of Madison and Dane County.

August 27, 2005 to November 6, 2005

Starry Transit: An Installation by Martha Glowacki

This sculptural installation created by Martha Glowacki for the historic Washburn Observatory will explore the ability of night-flying birds to navigate by the stars. A project of MMoCA and the UW-Madison Department of Astronomy.

View the Starry Transit website »

March 21, 2005 to June 19, 2005
June 1, 2004 to March 21, 2005

Art on Site

Art on Site brings a series of six site-specific art installations to Olbrich Botanical Gardens beginning in June 2004 and continuing through spring 2005. Installations range from a 45-foot circular "flower painting" to a 12-foot mixed-media charm bracelet to a construction of willow branches in Olbrich's Rock Garden pond. In addition, students from Malcolm Shabazz City High School will work with participating artists to create a summer-long series of mowed designs in Olbrich's Great Lawn.

September 7, 2003 to January 4, 2004

La vida en marcha: Mexican Prints from the Permanent Collection

The search for national identity provides the historic backdrop for La vida en marcha: Mexican Prints from the Permanent Collection. In the wake of the Mexican revolution (1910-1920), the country experienced an artistic revival that literally changed the face of its leading institutions. Moved by the plight of their countrymen and inspired by the European avant-garde, Mexican artists became actively engaged in modernization. As they transformed public buildings into national treasures with colorful murals, they turned to the graphic arts for their accessibility.