Interesting current art exhibits in Madison

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Don Baum, “The Apparition,” 1988. Canvas board and wood.. -Photo: MMOCA

‘Turn Turn Turn’ Through Aug. 24

To everything there is a season, and this summer will be the season for “Turn Turn Turn,” a Madison Museum of Contemporary Art exhibit that draws its name from the late Pete Seeger’s song and explores life’s joys, sorrows and momentous events through modern art. Using pieces from MMOCA’s collection, the exhibit illustrates passages from the famous song, which draws its title from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

“To everything there is a season,” the song’s subtitle and summation verse, is illustrated by Grant Wood’s “Calendar Prints,’ which chronicle the changing agricultural seasons in the Midwest. “A time to kill” is illustrated by Claes Oldenburg’s “Ray Gun (1972),” while “a time to hate” is supported by Ed Paschke’s frightening “Kontato” and “Kantata.”

The gallery’s Learning Center offers a variety of resources, including videos of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There is a Season),” performed by a very young Seeger and Judy Collins, as well as by the folk-rock group The Byrds, which made the song a hit. There also are videos of an elderly Seeger discussing the song and its creation.

At Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St. Call 608-257-0158 or visit

‘A Tumultuous Assembly: Collage, Assemblage and the Found Object’ Through July 27

Summer weather usually means a seasonal slowdown for indoor activities, but the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art continues to offer new exhibits, even as it gears up for Art Fair on the Square July 12–13.

Early last century, artists Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp and others began assembling found objects in interesting ways, resulting in the formal emergence of collages (from the French coller, meaning “to paste.”) Both Braque and Picasso are credited with coining the term. MMOCA’s “A Tumultuous Assembly: Collage, Assemblage and the Found Object” does not feature works by any of the movement’s founders, but it does offer a collection of works by more contemporary artists, including Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg and others. The exhibit clearly references futurism, the movement founded in 1909 that celebrated all things future. The name “Tumultuous Assembly” comes from a typographical collage by the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, an advocate for free-verse poetry and founder of futurism.

Families might want to stop at the museum’s reception desk for a MMOCAkids ArtPack, which includes a paper sculpture activity based on Don Baum’s “The Apparition” (1988), one of the exhibit’s three-dimensional works. 

At Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St. Call 608-257-0158 or visit

Re-Art SWAP, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on Sun., June 22

Absolutely Art hosts its ninth annual Re-Art SWAP — the gallery’s annual opportunity to help artists clean out their studios. Just about anything is fair game for trading, from beads, buttons and broken ceramics to screws, spools, stock photos and tools. Show up with your goods and you’ll be assigned a table to display them. Then find something new that speaks to you and take it home with you. Or show up with no goods and make a $5 donation, which will be used to help purchase art supplies for local schools and community groups.

Absolutely Art is looking for volunteers to help with set-up both Saturday and Sunday. If you’re interested in helping, contact Meghan Blake-Horst at 608-249-9100 or meghan@absolutelyartllc.

At Absolutely Art, 2322 Atwood Ave., Madison. For more information, visit