Press Releases

Date of Release: 
Friday, January 13, 2017
Contact Info: 

Erika Monroe-Kane, Director of Communications
608.257.0158 x 237 or

Exhibition Schedule Winter to Summer 2017

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Exhibition Schedule Winter to Summer 2017


Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection

December 2, 2016 – November 12, 2017

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 first daguerreotypes to today’s digital prints, photography has undergone continuous technical and conceptual change.

Through much of the twentieth-century the film-based, black-and-white print served as the standard format for modern photography. Over the past several decades, however, artists have transformed the medium by exploring new technologies and by adopting older approaches in innovative ways. As evidenced by works included in Reconfigured Reality, these contemporary approaches include an ambitious adoption of color, large format photography, re-appropriation of vintage processes to express contemporary concerns, the staged photograph, the digitally manipulated photograph, and the implementation of various conceptual strategies.

What contemporary photography has amply discredited—and which, in fact, applies retroactively to the entire history of photography—is the narrow view that the camera is a recording device only, not a creative tool, and that its purpose is strictly representational. Laid to rest, too, is the notion that the camera can ever capture a purely objective reality.

Despite the extraordinary technical shifts and proliferation of the photographic image, which has become the pervasive visual language of our time, great photographs continue to be what they have always been. In the hands of gifted and creative photographers, they are personal accounts that manifest poetic or critical reflections about the world.


Do Ho Suh

February 11, 2017 – May 14, 2017

Opening reception, February 10, 6–9 pm

Do Ho Suh (1962, Seoul, 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. Reimagining and reconstructing his various homes, the artist creates works of art that highlight the porous boundary between public and private space as well as notions of global identity, space, nomadism, memory, and displacement.

Suh first began rendering domestic structures in 1994, an impulse turned into life’s work. At once luminous, architectural, and ephemeral, these transplanted homes are playful and imaginative but also deeply melancholy in their manifestation of disorientation: as impressions of the many residences in which Suh and his family have lived, they testify to the global and poignantly elusive nature of “home” as seen through the artist’s eyes.

Located primarily in MMoCA’s main galleries, this multipart installation presents large-scale architectural structures, documentary films, illuminated sculptures, and works on paper. The exhibition centerpiece is a full-scale replica of Suh’s New York City apartment and studio he re-created using pink, blue, and yellow fabric. Entering into the space, audience members can wander through its dreamlike interior rooms and passageways, and revel in the details of its delicately sewn radiators, sinks, and window moldings. In addition, a separate room within the gallery contains objects from the artist’s Specimen Series—a collection of domestic appliances, such as a refrigerator, stove, and toilet, that Suh replicated in diaphanous fabric and installed in light-filled Plexiglas boxes.

In MMoCA's adjacent Imprint Gallery, visitors can view Do Ho Suh's Secret Garden (2012), a 1:16 scale model and animation of Suh's Korean house and garden mounted on the back of a flatbed semi-truck. The sculpture and its related animation represent a proposal by Suh for Madison Square Park that would replicate his private residence in a public environment for all to experience.


Young at Art

February 11, 2017 – April 23, 2017

Opening reception, February 26, 3–4:30 pm

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. This process allows for the full range of technique, subject matter, and mediums to be represented, including drawing, painting, collage, photography, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, fiber, found objects, and media arts. Young at Art calls attention to children’s creative potential and to the scope and variety of individual expression. It also highlights the high caliber of studio art instruction in Madison’s public schools, as well as the integration of art history and cross-cultural studies in the school art curriculum.


Kambui Olujimi: Zulu Time

May 6, 2016 – August 6, 2017

Opening reception, June 2, 6–9 pm

Kambui Olujimi is a Brooklyn-based, multidisciplinary artist who questions the assumptions underlying our understanding of the world around us. In Zulu Time, Olujimi’s solo exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the artist pays particular attention to contemporary race relations and associated power disparities, addressing the contradictions, misconceptions, and failures embedded in America’s social, economic, and political landscape.

Zulu Time is the short-hand term for the world’s standardized mode of marking time. Specifically, it references Coordinated Universal Time, or the time at the prime meridian (longitude 0 degrees) from which all global time zones are calculated. Since Great Britain was the world’s foremost maritime power when the concept of latitude and longitude came to be, the starting point for designating longitude is based on the location of the British Naval Observatory in Greenwich, England. Thus, Zulu Time, as the basis for all civil time, literally revolves around western norms for structuring a day. This notion of universal time as an expression of dominance and an imposition of control serves as Olujimi’s jumping off point for creating a body of new work that explores invisible hierarchies that benefit some groups of people while disregarding and disadvantaging others. On view May 6 through August 6, 2017, Kambui Olujimi: Zulu Time will offer an opportunity to consider these timely concepts through the artist’s compelling two-dimensional and sculptural work.


Taking Sides

June 3, 2017 – September 2, 2017

Opening reception, June 2, 6–9 pm

“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.

Taking Sides, with nearly one hundred works of art in varied media, focuses on an assortment of themes critical to the notion of art as a platform for political statement: social violence; group demonstrations; abuses of military power; evils of the authoritarian state; threats to the environment; class and racial inequity; ethnic and gender identity; and compassion for the vulnerable. Taking Sides includes Andy Warhol’s charge of intolerable racial prejudice in his Birmingham Race Riot screenprint of 1963; Joan Snyder’s lament for the stigmatized victims of AIDS in Requiem/Let Them Rest, a multimedia print from 1997; and Robert Rauschenberg’s shouting out of political and social wrongdoing in his 1970 screenprint Surface Series 42 (from Currents). The exhibition also draws from an area of strength in the museum’s permanent collection, Mexican Modernism, showing works by José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, and Leopoldo Mendéz.

Taking Sides is timely given the current political climate that has in many quarters sanctioned social injustice both in the United States and abroad. The injunction in the Book of Leviticus that “Thou shall not stand idly by” is as urgently true today as it was 2500 years ago.


Chele Isaac: the understory

August 26, 2017 – November 12, 2017

Opening reception, September 22, 6–9 pm

Chele Isaac is a Madison-based artist who combines moving images and sound to create fully immersive, multimedia environments. Although looking to the past for inspiration, she utilizes twenty-first century technologies in her playful explorations of visual perception, poetically re-imagining for the contemporary world the optical devices used during the pre-history of cinema. Through a careful balance of texture, tone, and repetition, Isaac weaves together loose cinematic narratives that eschew traditional storylines and function instead to elicit feelings of the uncanny.

For her solo exhibition at MMoCA, Isaac re-constitutes, in modern form, the cyclorama—a type of entertainment popularized in the mid- to late 1800s in which a panoramic image was presented on the inside of a cylindrical platform. Giving viewers standing in the middle of the platform a 360-degree view, cycloramas were designed to elicit the overwhelming sensation of being present at the depicted scene. Isaac sets her seven-channel video projection within a similarly massive and enveloping circular structure. But rather than replicating the single continuous image of the cyclorama, the artist projects her video tableaus as distinct yet synchronized moving images within the larger panorama. Each individual video focuses on the beauty of life’s interstitial moments and overlooked details, from seagulls flying overhead to a deer wandering through freshly fallen snow. Taken together, the projected videos point to the indifference of nature, and invite us to think about our relationship to the changing environment.


Hours at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art are Tuesday–Thursday (noon–5 pm); Friday (noon–8 pm); Saturday (10 am–8 pm); and Sunday (noon–5 pm). The museum is closed on Mondays. 

Housed in a soaring, iconic building on State Street, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art offers free admission to exhibitions and education programs that engage visitors in modern and contemporary art. The four galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The award-winning Museum Store offers contemporary American craft and fine jewelry, while Fresco, the museum’s rooftop restaurant, features local, seasonal ingredients in fine American cuisine.

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