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MMoCA is Saddened by the Passing of Stephen Fleischman

The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) is saddened by the passing of former Museum Director Stephen Fleischman on Sunday, January 14, 2024.

Fleischman served as the Director of the Museum for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1991. During his tenure, Fleischman oversaw tremendous growth throughout all aspects of the organization including the expansion of the Museum into its current building. Following his vision, MMoCA held exceptional exhibitions of regional, national, and international scope, increased creative community partnerships and programming, and strengthened the Museum’s core permanent collection including acquiring a comprehensive concentration of works by Chicago Imagists.

Under Fleischman’s leadership, the organization changed its name from the Madison Art Center to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) to better reflect its mission and established an MMoCA Foundation to grow the endowment and secure the financial health of the Museum. Finally, the redesign of the Museum in the current César Pelli building created a signature presence for MMoCA on State Street within the downtown cultural community.

Fleischman’s wife, Barbara Katz, was by his side at openings, events, on museum trips, or working at the Art Fair on the Square. The couple’s three sons grew up attending events and supporting the Museum. At the family’s request, memorial contributions may be made to the Museum. (

We are grateful for Stephen Fleischman’s lasting contributions to the Museum, the arts, and the Madison community.

Services will be held at Temple Beth El on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 11:00 AM. Details for the service and the obituary are available at