Drawing on the city’s long tradition of politically charged graphic design in public settings, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents Then and Again: A Public Project by Nicolas Lampert. The exhibition, comprised of six signs created by Lampert, will be on view in outdoor locations in Madison’s downtown this spring and summer.
Lampert’s signs commemorate important institutions in Madison’s recent history: Lysistrata Restaurant, Mifflin Street Co-op, Whole Earth Co-op, Hotel Washington, Freedom House, and O’Cayz Corral. Each of these organizations contributed to the city’s reputation for political and cultural activism. For example, the Whole Earth Co-op was one of the first institutions in the country to foster living in harmony with nature and the benefits of do-it-yourself resourcefulness. Likewise, in 1975 gay activist Rodney Scheel purchased the historic Hotel Washington. Scheel added a gay bar and a formidable music venue to the hotel, fostering Madison’s tolerant atmosphere towards sexual orientation.
Many of these institutions represent Madison’s counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, which contributed to the city’s informal status as the “Berkeley of the Midwest.” Then and Againreinvigorates interest in our collective past for individuals who knew these institutions, while also introducing them to a new generation
For years, Nicolas Lampert has been using graphic treatments and rhetoric to make works of art that engender discussions about politics and the social sphere. His work has been shown at the Madison Museum of Contemporary in the 2007 Wisconsin Triennial and at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. He has staged public interventions in Milwaukee and Chicago, and some of his collages are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Then and Againis the latest public project by the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, continuing a tradition paved by projects such as Rob Fischer: In Site (2000) and Art on Site: Madison Museum of Contemporary Art at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (2004).
Generous funding for Then and Again: A Public Project by Nicolas Lampert has been provided by the Madison Arts Council and Cosmic Debris.