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MMoCA to reopen galleries, restart Rooftop Cinema Series

MMoCA to reopen galleries, restart Rooftop Cinema Series

After a long summer of virtual viewing, art lovers can look forward to  the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA) reopening for in-person visits on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Entry is free at the MMoCA, and galleries will have floor markings to enforce social distancing, enhanced sanitation practices and hand sanitation and tissue stations throughout the space. Masks are required for all guests over 5 years old. An in-depth list of safety measures is available on the museum’s website

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"The staff's excitement about reopening is palpable because it allows us to more fully accomplish the museum's mission of providing transformative art experiences that educate, reflect, and inspire us as individuals and a community," spokesperson Marni McEntee said. 

Current exhibitions include Alex Gartelmann and Jonas Sebura’s “Bonded,” a video-exhibition that challenges traditional representations of masculinity; “Uncommon Accumulation: The Mark and Judy Bednar Collection of Chicago Imagism,” a collection of works gifted to the museum over the past 45 years, featuring early, formative works by prominent artists; “A Final Meditation on Art,” one of James Cagle’s final projects as he confronted terminal illness, and Gladys Nilsson’s “Out of This World,” featuring the artist’s layered collages, watercolors, paintings and prints.

"If visitors are looking for a smile, and some piquant commentary on being a woman in this world, "Out of This World" will deliver, McEntee said. 

The museum is also restarting its Rooftop Cinema series in August, showing experimental films on Friday nights outdoors on the museum’s rooftop. Tickets are $5 per screening for the general public and free to museum members, and must be purchased online in advance. The museum will follow Forward Dane guidelines and enforce social distancing, and audience members should bring their own chair or blanket to sit on.

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The series begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 with “Desolation Center,” a documentary/concert film about a series of punk rock events in the Mojave Desert in the 1980s that were the forerunner of Burning Man. That’s followed on Aug. 14 with the German film ‘The Wolf House,” an unsettling movie that vacillates between 2D and 3D animation in telling the story of an escapee from a religious cult who is losing her grip on reality. “Black Mother” on Aug. 21 looks at a multi-generational family living in Jamaica, and the series ends on Aug. 22 with selected animated shorts from the Ann Arbor Film Festival. More information is available at

Even before the pandemic, the MMoCA made most of its collection available online, and posted gallery talks and lectures on its YouTube channel. After the building's closure to guests due to the pandemic, museum staff worked to add even more online resources, hoping to stay connected with the community during the hiatus. McEntee said that the museum added more detailed webpages for exhibitions that were slated to launch during the pandemic, such as "Bonded." 

"MMoCA put all of that exhibition's videos, recorded by artists Jonas Sebura and Alex Gartelmann, on our website, as well as numerous interviews with the artists that were recorded by UW-Madison art students who collaborated with MMoCA on the exhibition," she said. 

Updated museum hours:

Galleries are closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Thursday and Friday: 12-8 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. are reserved for adults 60 and older and those with compromised immune systems.

The museum store remains closed for repairs.

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Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.