Sunday, June 17, 2007

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCa)

I just had a great experience at MMOCA. I am not a huge fan of contemporary art museums, but I was hugely impressed by the one in Madison. I had decided to go after reading about a current exhibit, Wisconsin Triennial, in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The museum considered 497 artists who reside in Wisconsin and eventaully chose 90 artists. The media was varied: video installation, photography, sculpture, painting and textile. Some of the artists were originally from South Korea and China. Others were from Texas. But most were Wisconsin natives and this was evident in many of the works. I was surpised by how many artists were strongly influenced by September 11th and how they incorporated that event into their art. The vision that these artists had and their talent strongly inspired me. I am so happy to see that in today's technology-driven world that there are still so many people expressing themselves through art.

The museum itself was very nice. Located in downtown Madison, a block from the state capital, the museum in housed in a beautiful building that makes wonderful use of light in its main entrance. My main complaint about the museum was its lack of directions. The galleries and gift shop are spread out on four floors and it is not clear how to get to each gallery. I know that I missed many works from the Triennial.

I had two very favorite pieces. The first is by Stephanie Liner. The museum wrote:

Liner questions feminity and sexuality in American culture through works of art that incorporates fashion and the female body. Each detail of "Gibbosity," which means "protuberance or swelling," is carefully considered in the context of its cultural associations. A hybrid of a formal garment and a piece of furniture...Liner's explorations of the personal and social effects of gender stereotypes and the perception of women as objects of sexual desire.

One of my other favorites was 'A Terrible Beauty-Chapter II: Compulsion and Repulsion" by Jennifer Angus. Her work is so amaszing that it is impossible to truly describe. What she does is take preserved insects and arranges them on walls to form patterns a la wallpaper. She also uses them to write messages and to create an overall impression that is hard for me to describe.

This is what the museum wrote:

Jennifer Angus uses insects to create detailed patterns that reference textiles and wallpaper. Inspired by the Victorian era, her site-specific installations walk the delicate line between beauty and the aversion some viewers may have to her use of bugs.

Visit the artists' websites at
and the museum is