Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
MMoCA is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving modern and contemporary art. Its mission is to educate and inspire by means of rotating permanent collection exhibitions, special exhibitions, film series, and educational programming. The museum opened in its current home adjacent to the Overture Center for the Arts on April 23, 2006. Both MMoCA and the Overture Center were designed by world-renowned architect César Pelli.
MMoCA is one of Madison's oldest cultural organizations. Established as the Madison Art Association in 1901, the organization presented education programs and exhibitions in borrowed spaces. In 1964, the organization leased the former Lincoln School on Lake Mendota and merged with the Madison Art Foundation to become the Madison Art Center.
In 1980, the Madison Art Center moved into the Madison Civic Center, where it continued to organize and present ambitious exhibitions. In 2003, the Art Center’s name was changed to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) to more accurately reflect the museum’s ongoing mission.
Made possible by the philanthropy of W. Jerome Frautschi and Pleasant T. Rowland, MMoCA encompasses 51,500 square feet of interior space, including highly flexible gallery spaces. MMoCA's primary art and gallery spaces are:
- The Henry Street Gallery (lower level)
- lobby (first floor)
- The State Street Gallery (first floor)
- The main galleries (second floor)
- The Imprint Gallery (second floor)
- Sculpture Garden (rooftop/seasonal)
Also included are a 230-seat lecture hall, an education classroom, a study center for drawings, prints, and photographs, and the Fresco rooftop restaurant.
Collection and exhibitions
The permanent collection includes nearly 6,000 objects, comprising one of the nation’s finest collections of Chicago Imagism as well as significant holdings in Mexican Modernist prints, Wisconsin-based artists, and contemporary photography.
Of the more than 1,400 artists in MMoCA's permanent collection, included are Romare Bearden, Deborah Butterfield, Alexander Calder, Sonya Clark, Sam Gilliam, Guerrilla Girls, Frida Kahlo, Jin Soo Kim, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gladys Nilsson, José Clemente Orozco, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, John Wilde, and Wesley Willis.
Depending on current exhibitions, a rotating selection of permanent collection work normally remains on view.
Exhibitions are the cornerstone of MMoCA's public programs and have featured many of the most respected artists of the last century, including Louise Bourgeois, Cecelia Condit, Tacita Dean, Jeffrey Gibson, Jasper Johns, Brad Kahlhamer, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Rashaad Newsome, Georgia O'Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Robert Rauschenberg, Faith Ringgold, Peter Saul, George Segal, Alec Soth, Frank Stella, Do Ho Suh, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.
The main galleries, located on the second floor, host the museum's major exhibitions. The Imprint Gallery, also on the second floor, is a small black box theater dedicated to time-based media, multimedia, and special installations. The State Street Gallery on the first floor offers a changing roster of special exhibitions and installations, while The Henry Street Gallery on the lower level presents selections and exhibitions from the museum's permanent collection. MMoCA's rooftop Sculpture Garden presents major 3D works and installations on a rotating basis in an illuminated, outdoor garden setting.
Admission and funding
MMoCA is free to the public.
As a free-admission museum, MMoCA relies on individuals, corporations, private event rentals, and foundations for necessary financial support. Key support is also provided by museum memberships, fundraising events like the annual Art Fair on the Square, and private gifts and donations.