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MATRIX, a changing exhibition of contemporary art, was initially funded in 1974 as an experimental pilot project with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since its first exhibition in January 1975, MATRIX has shown more than one thousand works of art by more than 160 artists.

For many distinguished artists, including Richard Tuttle, Neil Jenney, Jon Borofsky, Daniel Buren, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Nancy Spero, Louise Lawler, Barbara Kruger, Gerhard Richter, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Glenn Ligon, their MATRIX show at the Wadsworth Atheneum was their first one-person museum exhibition in the United States. Half of the artists have been in their thirties or younger, and more than one-third did not have an affiliation with a commercial gallery at the time of their MATRIX experience. 

From its inception, MATRIX has been a forum for art that is challenging, current and sometimes controversial. Through clear explanation and thoughtful engagement with the viewer, MATRIX exhibitions call into question preconceptions about art and increase understanding of its possibilities.

MATRIX has inspired more than 50 programs across the country, including the MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum.