The Art + Ideas of Our Time
Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) plays an urgent and exciting role in the city's cultural landscape. As a non-collecting institution and the region’s only contemporary art museum, MOCA is ever-changing, introducing new exhibitions three times a year and creating fresh experiences for visitors each season. Since its founding in 1968, MOCA has presented the works of more than 2,000 artists to our region, often through artists’ first solo shows.
MOCA acts as both conduit and catalyst for anyone seeking creativity and inspiration.
For 45 years, MOCA, Northeast Ohio’s only contemporary art museum, has brought the art and ideas of our time to Cleveland and beyond. MOCA was the first in the region to exhibit the works of vanguard artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Laurie Anderson, Roy Lichtenstein, and Christo; and we continue to bring the work of emerging and established regional, national, and international artists to our area.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is a unique and dynamic place for the visual art of our time. We challenge, inspire and teach a wide range of audiences. Our purpose is to push the boundaries of innovation, creativity and exploration through exhibitions, publications, education and outreach programs.
MOCA Cleveland offers a fun and friendly place to fuel imagination, cultivate creativity, and discover new ways to see, think, and share. The Museum's changing exhibitions provide a continuous stream of new art and ideas that can be explored and considered. Each season, MOCA Cleveland creates programs based on curiosity, problem solving, interaction, and play. The Museum provides resources and open-ended activities that encourage collaboration and interaction, from in-gallery activities to hands-on art projects.
MOCA Cleveland was founded in 1968 by Marjorie Talalay, Nina Sundell and Agnes Gund as The New Gallery to showcase important developments in contemporary art. MOCA immediately attracted attention by introducing works of emerging, soon-to-be vanguard artists to Cleveland, such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Cindy Sherman for the first time, and continues the tradition of bringing today’s most compelling art and ideas to our region today. In 1974, the New Gallery became a non-profit, and in 1984, changed its name to Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Northeast Ohio’s only museum dedicated to showing contemporary art. In 2002, the organization's name was changed to Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland to celebrate its rich history, and recognize its impact on NE Ohio's art scene. In 2006, MOCA announced relocation plans, and in 2011, broke ground for its new building.
In the fall of 2012, MOCA’s new (fully funded) $27.2M building became the anchor for the new Uptown district of University Circle, a vibrant urban area with shops, eateries, housing and culture. MOCA’s new home is often referred to as a “gem” in Cleveland, a beautiful, innovative, hexagonal space built to meet the needs of growing exhibitions, programs, and audiences, in an evolving cosmopolitan neighborhood among universities, medical institutions, cultural centers, and in close proximity to many Cleveland schools.
MOCA’s standout, gem-like building is the first structure in the United States designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA). An instant icon for Cleveland’s revitalization and growth, the building often appears as a symbol of the city’s renaissance everywhere from The New York Times to Fodor’s to Architectural Digest.
44 percent larger than MOCA’s former rented space, Moussavi’s design demonstrates that a museum expansion need not be large in scale to be ambitious in all respects. Devised for both environmental and fiscal sustainability, the design is at once technically inventive, visually stunning and highly practical.
The four-story, nearly 34,000-square-foot structure has the appearance of a geometric form that rises from a six-sided base to a four-sided top, producing eight triangles and trapezoids. The exterior building is sheathed in panels of reflective black stainless steel and is heated and cooled by geothermal wells located under the adjacent [Toby’s] plaza.
The Museum provides intimate spaces and opportunities to connect with the works of contemporary artists from around the world. From personal reflecting to family art-making to late-night mingling, the building masterfully accommodates wide-ranging experiences with contemporary art.
The exterior of the four-story, 34,000-square-foot building, is sheathed in panels of reflective black stainless steel and is heated and cooled by geothermal wells located under the adjacent plaza. In 2015, MOCA received LEED® Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
In June 2015, MOCA’s board of directors and staff adopted a new strategic plan for the institution. It is an aspirational roadmap for the next three years, culminating in MOCA’s 50th Anniversary in 2018. The plan amplifies the values that have long informed and animated MOCA’s place in the world, providing specific goals that frame the work ahead.
Five Key Ideas describe MOCA’s core purpose and identity as a Vanguard institution dedicated to providing visitors with an experience of Discovery, while balancing Cosmopolitan flair with a commitment to being Rooted in Cleveland, and embracing an Enterprising approach to its programming and operations.
MOCA’s Board of Directors is a committed group of community leaders partners who provide governance, targeted enterprise, and financial support.
MOCA’s staff includes 27 full-time employee equivalents, and 8-12 interns annually.