Museum of Contemporary Art
333 North Laura Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Open: Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday & Wednesday 11:00am-5:00pm/ Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm/ Friday & Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm
Fee: Adults $8.00/Students, Seniors & Military $5.00/Children 2-12 $5.00/Children under 2 Free
On a recent visit to Jacksonville, Florida I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Jacksonville. It was such a nice experience and for such a small museum it had some interesting pieces of art and some unique gallery exhibits.
The galleries are very interesting
In the Atrium area of the museum as you walk up the steps to the second floor, the giant sculpture, “The Fragility of the Promise” by artist Kedgar Volta sways and moves as you walk up the flights. The piece was quoted as that “the installation is the artist’s inquiry into the fluctuating interactions between our internal narratives and the external forces of culture and commerce. The fragility of the connection becomes a testament to the elusive promise of prosperity” (Gallery Newsletter). I didn’t see all that but what I saw was a piece that made interesting lights and sounds and when you walked under it you saw the complexity of what the artist was trying to do. It is a spectacular piece of art.
“The Fragility of the Promise” by artist Kedgar Volta
In partnership with the University of North Florida-Jacksonville, I got to see the faculty exhibition with works from some of the working professors. I walked through the ‘Jay Shoots: Home” exhibition which shows the artist’s work in photography and structure of design in his works. Some were small boxes with pictures and others were small sculptures with superimposed shots.
The museum quotes his work as “while these are hybrid works, or photo sculptures, retain the artist’s sense of formal beauty, they also display his humorous side as he explores the concept of the dwelling, how we create our sense of place, personally and collectively”. They are small interesting works that you have to see up close.
On the Third Floor, was the Special Exhibition Galleries featuring the exhibition “A Moment in Beijing: Su Xinping, Weng Yunpeng and Jizi”. These artists from China, represent the spectrum from young and old and give their take on paining and photography. Some of the works offer unusual color and design. Some pieces were somewhat unrecognizable while others used their sense of movement to show what the artist was trying to portray. You really have to look at the works for a second time.
On the top floor is the Education Gallery where students take art classes and there is a nice studio for kids and students to do their work. It was quiet the afternoon I was there.
The MOCO at Hemming Square
On the ground floor is the restaurant and I have to say that it smells up the museum. The afternoon I toured the museum, the place smelled like burnt toast and grilled cheese. Very unusual for a Contemporary Art Museum but maybe that’s what brings in the patrons. Still I enjoyed my afternoon here and it only takes about an hour and a half to tour the whole facility.
History of the Museum of Contemporary Art-Jacksonville:
The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is also known is a contemporary art museum in Jacksonville, Florida funded and operated as a “cultural institute” of the University of North Florida. One of the largest contemporary art institutions in the Southeastern United States, it presents exhibition by international, national and regional artists.
MOCO Jacksonville was founded in 1924 as the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society, the first organization in the Jacksonville community devoted to the visual arts. In 1948, the Museum was incorporated as the Jacksonville Art Museum and in 1978 it became the first institution in Jacksonville to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museum.
In late 1999, the Museum acquired its permanent home, the historic Western Union Telegraph Building on Hemming Plaza, built by the Auchter Company, adjacent to the newly renovated City Hall and became the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (JMOMA). In 2000, a series of preview exhibitions opened in a temporary exhibition space while the building facade was restored to its original Art Deco style. The interior was completely refurbished to house the Museum’s galleries, educational facilities, a theater/auditorium, Museum Shop and Cafe Nola.
After moving to its downtown location, the Museum experienced rapid growth in both membership and the size of the permanent collection. The many substantial additions to the collection increased not only its quality but also its size to almost 800 pieces. After completing a recent review of the current scope of the Museum’s collection and exhibitions, discussions were held regarding the distinctions between modern and contemporary arts as well as the Museum’s mission and vision for the future. It was decided that in order for the Museum to convey strong sense of identity and purpose to both the community and other art institutions across the country, its name should change. In November of 2006, the JMOMA became the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.
The University of North Florida acquired the museum in 2009 to act as a cultural resource of the university.
(Wiki and MOCA Museum History 2019)
Disclaimer: I took this information from a combination of the MOCA History and Wiki and I give them full credit for this information.