The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents a major survey of work by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz, New York-based artists who have garnered international recognition for their vibrant, abstract paintings created in conjunction with communities across the world. An in-depth and multifaceted exhibition, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century will be on view in the MMoCA main galleries from February 7 through May 17, 2015, with an opening reception on February 6 from 6-9 pm and artist conversation beginning at 6:30 pm. To include all those who have participated thus far in Madison: A Collective Almanac and to invite others to be involved, this event will be free to all attendees.
Also: Monday, May 18 · 5-6:30 pm · Lobby and Main Galleries Artwork Unveiling
Be the first to see the just-completed painting about Madison by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz. Take advantage of this special opportunity to see this new work of art as well as the seven monumental works in the exhibition, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century, which will be taken down the following day. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which is typically closed on Mondays will open just for this special event and opportunity. All are invited to attend.
The internationally known, New York-based artists Eric and Heather ChanSchatz have been in residence in Madison since the summer of 2014. During this time the artists have been exploring Madison’s layered identity and engaging the public in the development of Madison: A Cooperative Almanac. People across Madison were invited to complete a questionnaire (selection sheet) on one of 70 different subjects. Their responses have informed the large-scale acrylic on linen painting, PTG.0312 Civilization (Cities) / Citizens and communities of Madison, WI. The artists are currently painting this work in a studio situated within the main galleries at MMoCA, amidst the exhibition, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. This arrangement allows museum visitors to observe the creation of this new artwork.
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz engage in a rigorous artistic process that is built on a distinct visual language they have developed over the past fifteen years. Employing their pictorial lexicon in combination with a unique approach to public collaboration, they explore the role artistic creation can play in fostering civic awareness and galvanizing community interaction, dialogue, and change. The specific geographic regions and populations they engage are grappling with complex socio-political issues that characterize life, globally, in the twenty-first century. They have worked with such diverse groups as American soldiers in Iraq, coal miners in Pennsylvania, Cairo citizens during the Egyptian Spring, and stateless children in Thailand as a means to understand, respectively, soldiers' first-hand experiences of war; American labor and energy production; religious and political unrest; and the relationship between poverty and human trafficking. The artworks emerging from these exchanges take the form of drawings, paintings, sculpture, and artist books that feature ChanSchatz's signature characters.
The conceptual focus of their practice, however, remains tied to the idea that artistic participation can be a catalyst for social change, democratic action, and human understanding. In this sense, ChanSchatz's work can be seen as a contemporary extension of Joseph Beuys's notion of social sculpture, which speaks to art's potential to transform society through everyday human activity and personal connection. Thus, the paintings included in 22nd Century are just one element of the exhibition--they represent the physical manifestation, or abstracted interpretation, of the artists' interactions with project participants. The artists see their paintings as human exchanges in which each artwork is an event and each artwork is an action. ChanSchatz cultivate these exchanges through grassroots networking. Using specialized questionnaires and one-on-one interviews with project participants, they are able to probe fundamental questions about who we are as people, how we live in this world, and how different ideas and groups intersect in contemporary life.
In response to working with MMoCA and exploring Madison's layered identity, ChanSchatz have developed Madison: A Cooperative Almanac, a project embodying both the tangible and interpersonal components of the artists' extended Madison residency. Targeting over 60 local communities and themes, in addition to discrete populations, they invited individuals, organizations, and the public to complete questionnaires, explore ideas, and freely contribute their voices and opinions. The resulting painting will be a "social landscape" of Madison, an abstract testament to the role individual expression and collective authorship can have on artistic process. Madison: A Cooperative Almanac, a limited edition book, stands at the center of this locally-sourced project. A bound archive of ChanSchatz's interactions with residents, it preserves a record of each participant's visual selections, narrative dialogues, and conceptual contributions--a relational network of information that captures a snapshot of Madison's collective self-image.
Generous funding for Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century has been provided by BMO Private Bank; the National Endowment for the Arts; Promega Corporation; Karen and Craig Christianson; Ellen Rosner and Paul J. Reckwerdt; Steinhauer Charitable Trust; Ben Marcus and Katie Dowling-Marcus; William Henry Chan, MD and Janet E. Wong, DDS; Darcy Kind and Marc Vitale; Hooper Corporation/General Heating & Air Conditioning; J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.; Iva Schatz and Stefani Schatz and Joseph Duggan; Lesa Caldarella-Wong and Wardon Wong; Vycom Plastics and Scranton Products; Jabez Technologies Inc.; CNC Software; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.
FRIDAY MARCH 6, 6:00-9:00 PM
This MMoCA Nights gathering will continue to probe Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century, on view from February 7 to May 17, 2015 in MMoCA's main galleries. The exhibition--the artists' first major museum survey--will include large-scale paintings created in conjunction with varying communities, along with a monumental sculpture. Guests may explore the exhibition from 6-9 pm. At 6:30 pm Melanie Herzog will lead a gallery talk entitled Art as a Force for Social Change. Members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and others will read original poems crafted in response to Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century from 7:30 to 8:15 pm. Enjoy live music from The Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Band, hors d'oeuvres from Fresco, and a cash bar. Free for MMoCA members / $10 for non-members.
Poets Respond to Madison
WFOP poets Margaret Benbow, Araceli Esparza, Jessica Frank, Richard Merelman and Rita Mae Reese, along with other Madison area poets and Kimberly Blaeser, the Wisconsin Poet Laureate, will read original poems inspired by Eric and Heather ChanSchatz: 22nd Century. The poetry event, part of MMoCA Nights, is from 7:30-8:15 PM in the Main galleries.
MMoCA Nights are sponsored by Newcomb Construction Company and The Alexander Company; with additional support from Fresco and media support from Isthmus.