museum review - Déjà – The Collection on Display

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Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

A major Canadian institution, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, part of the Place des Arts, is dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.

Pascal Grandmaison – Solo, 2003

A major Canadian institution, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, part of the Place des Arts, is dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.

Founded in 1964, the Musée moved to the heart of downtown in 1992, and promotes and preserves contemporary Québec art as well as Canadian and international contemporary art, through exhibitions and numerous other cultural activities.

Running until September 4, the summer 2011 exhibition, ‘Déjà – The Collection on Display’, features a vast selection of the collection’s works. Filling the Musée’s eight exhibition halls, the selection showcases a hundred or so spectacular, major, and rarely exhibited works. Produced between 1964 and 2010, and acquired between 1978 and 2010, the items have been gathered on the basis of different themes or possible readings.

Shirin Neshat – Soliloquy, 1999

These works have been carefully selected from the 7,600 pieces in the museum’s inventory by Josee Belisle, curator of the exhibition of the Musée’s collection. In terms of scale, this exhibition is the largest space ever devoted to displaying the collection.

The Musée has been collecting for nearly 50 years in order to provide not only an overall view but also a specific perspective of the art created both in Canada and abroad. The collection encompasses painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, and various other techniques, and illustrates the diversity found amongst contemporary artists, some of whom are the authors of large bodies of works in the museum’s holdings. The curatorial choice brings together such names as David Altmejd, Nicolas Baier, Louise Bourgeois, Ann Hamilton, Alain Paiement, Ed Pien, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Claude Tousignant, to mention a few.

Laid out in nine segments, the display offering a selective overview of the Musee’s history surprises visitors by placing some of the works back in the exact settings where they have already (deja) been seen in previous exhibitions. It also presents anew some visionary works that have been loaned to leading institutions around the world, and major acquisitions that are being exhibited at the Musee for the first time.

The show opens with a print and drawing room, photo gallery, and video space. At the top of the grand staircase leading to the eight exhibition galleries, a broad corridor runs between the museum’s north and south wings. For the duration of the exhibition, this space has been transformed into an oversized, combined print, drawing, and photograph room. There, visitors will see pictorially inspired drawings by Raymonde April, Geoffrey Farmer, Rodney Graham, Fred Sandback, Irene F. Whittome, and Fernand Leduc, along with other works.

Montreal, Canada
Distance: 10,414 km
Flight Time: 13 hours, 40 mins
Frequency: 3 flights a week

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