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Found 12 results

  1. By Brendan Kelly, The Gazette November 5, 2009 7:02 PM Tammy Forsythe is a recipient of the Canada Council 2009 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards. Photograph by: c/o Tammy Forsythe, MONTREAL - Several Montreal-based artists have won Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Awards. The winners include Montreal-based choreographer Tammy Forsythe, who founded her own company, Tusketdance, in 1996 and is currently working on Golpe, which will premiere in Montreal in May 2010. Also on the winners’ list is Montreal-based transdisciplinary duo 2boys.tv, which is made up of Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard. The award winners were announced yesterday. Other local winners include visual artist Adad Hannah, who works at the intersection of video, photography and performance. Another winner is novelist André Girard, whose next novel, Moscou Cosmos, is coming out in the spring of 2010. The awards were also given to Mohawk multimedia artist Jackson 2bears, Toronto saxophonist and composer Kirk MacDonald, and playwright, author and filmmaker Drew Hayden Taylor. The annual awards come with $15,000 each and are given to mid-career artists in different disciplines. Prizes were created with a bequest made by the late Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Montreal+artists+Canada+Council+prizes/2189443/story.html
  2. ¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to Today in Montreal, Canada Thanks to the involvement of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Fototeca de Cuba, and the collaboration of many collectors and museums in the United States, including the MoMA, this exhibition will draw a broad panorama of Cuban art and history. ¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to Today, which brings together some 400 works of art, will be the first exhibition to showcase the art of this Caribbean island, which Christopher Columbus described as “the most beautiful land eyes have ever seen.” This lively and well-conceived multidisciplinary exhibition will bring together about one hundred paintings, including a huge collective mural produced in 1967 by many artists, two hundred photographs and documents, approximately one hundred works on paper (in particular two collections of pre- and post-1959-Revolution posters), some two hundred photographs and documents, installations and videos, in addition to music and film excerpts. Exhibition Summary - This ambitious exhibition will feature the art of Cuba, an island that has witnessed the twentieth-century’s principal historical events (decolonization, the search for a national identity, wars of independence and the Revolution, the building of political utopias and ideological clashes). Located at the crossroads of Old Europe and the New World, Cuba is a rich cultural terrain: its music and literature are well known outside of the country, but the same cannot be said of its visual arts. The exhibition is divided into five sections: Depicting Cuba: Finding Ways to Express a Nation (1868-1927); Arte Nuevo: The Avant-garde and the Re-creation of Identity (1927-1938); Cubanness: Affirming a Cuban Style (1938-1959); Within the Revolution, Everything, Against the Revolution, Nothing (1959-1979); The Revolution and Me: The Individual Within History (1980-2007). The exhibition’s historical narrative will be told through a selection of significant photographs: from those that have never been shown to the iconic, these pictures will illustrate the chronology of events as recorded by remarkable photographers. Within this account will be images illustrating the major chapters in the history of Cuban art, from the nineteenth-century’s wars of independence through to the uncertainties of the future. Throughout the twentieth century, artists engaged in international discourses sought to define a national identity, Cubanidad. Intermingling a re-examination of its colonialist past and openness to the avant-garde, Cuban artists created a profoundly original art of synthesis (Baroque and academic legacies, Spanish and African roots, Catholic and traditional spirituality). Central to the century and the exhibition, with the presentation of twenty paintings, the landmark work of Wifredo Lam will embody this synthesis. At times a vehicle for collective political action and at times a personal expression vis-à-vis history, Cuban art deals with matters pertaining to a sense of place and the role of the artist in society, issues that outstanding contemporary artists continue to explore in relevant ways. The Curators - The exhibition is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Art (MMFA) in collaboration with the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) and the Fototeca de Cuba, Havana. Nathalie Bondil, director of the MMFA, is the general curator of the exhibition, in collaboration with Moraima Clavijo Colom, director of the MNBA, and Lourdes Socarrás, director of the Fototeca de Cuba. The curatorial committee also includes Hortensia Montero Méndez, curator of Cuban art, MNBA; Luz Merino Acosta, technical director, MNBA; Rufino del Valle, curator, Fototeca de Cuba; Iliana Cepero, associate curator, MNBA; Stéphane Aquin, curator of contemporary art, MMFA; and the team of curators of the MNBA. The Catalogue - Under the general editorship of Nathalie Bondil, a 370-page catalogue will be produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Publishing Department. This book, which will include some 450 colour illustrations, is the first publication covering the whole history of Cuban art. It will provide essays by Cuban and international specialists on various aspects of the subject and some 140 biographical notes. It will be published in separate French, English and Spanish editions. Sponsors - In Montreal, the exhibition is presented by Sun Life Financial, in collaboration with METRO. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts wishes to thank Cubana and media partners La Presse and The Gazette. Its gratitude also extends to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications for its ongoing support. The Museum would like to thank the Volunteer Association of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for its invaluable support. It would also like to thank all its Friends and the many corporations, foundations and people who support its mission. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ International Exhibition Programme receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund.
  3. Is Montreal the real art capital of Canada? SARAH MILROY From Saturday's Globe and Mail May 30, 2008 at 11:07 PM EDT MONTREAL — Is Montreal the new Vancouver? I've heard the question floated the last few days following the opening of the Québec Triennial at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal last weekend. It's a major exhibition – 38 artists showing 135 works of art – and it presents a new generation of Quebec artists, emerging into view after a long period of relative seclusion and quiet growth. There are many, many discoveries to be made, particularly for gallerygoers who live outside of Quebec. The curators took risks. (The show was organized by MACM curators Paulette Gagnon, Mark Lanctôt, Josée Bélisle and Pierre Landry, now at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec.) They set out with no declared curatorial theme, which so often serves as a diversion from the brutal sheep-and-goats sorting that such a show should be all about. The exhibition's title, Nothing Is Lost, Nothing Is Created, Everything Is Transformed, was arrived at after the fact, borrowed from the writings of a Greek scientist and philosopher named Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (500-428 BC). It's a title that would suit many of the big roundup shows this year (for example, Unmonumental at The New Museum in New York, and the Whitney Biennial), having about it both the celebratory and the apocalyptic flavour of the moment. These days, the artist often seems to perform a kind of sampling role, picking through the churning deluge of information and imagery that makes up the contemporary visual environment. But where some of these larger international shows seem chaotic in sympathy with their subject (the current Whitney being the odious example), the Québec Triennial is tightly considered and expertly installed. A focus on the news Enlarge Image Among the big names are Michel de Broin, who won last year's Sobey Art Award and is a significant force on the Quebec scene. (Ellen Page Wilson) There were obvious big names missing from the lineup – such as Montrealers Pascal Grandmaison and Geneviève Cadieux or the Quebec City artist collective BGL, which has been showing up a lot in Toronto – and the curators may take heat for that on the home front. But instead of received ideas they have delivered us news. One of the most startling discoveries is the video work of 36-year-old Patrick Bernatchez. Here, he is showing two mesmerizing projection pieces, both set in the Fashion Plaza in the Mile End former garment district of Montreal, a part of the city currently being re-gentrified by the arts community. In I Feel Cold Today, we enter a 1960s-style office tower and ascend the elevators to the sound of a lush soundtrack (the artist's remix of fragments of classical music and film scores), arriving at a suite of empty offices that gradually fill with billowing snow. It's a mystical transformation. The cinematic precedent is the famous snow scene from Dr. Zhivago, where the accumulation of snow in the abandoned country house bespeaks the loss of a way of life, and the passage of time. Here, it is modernism that is mourned and, more particularly, the go-go optimism of Quebec in its Expo 67 moment. Bernatchez's other work, Chrysalide: Empereur, is without such obvious precedent, drifting in a realm of its own. All the camera shows us is a car parked in a grimy garage. In it sits a man in a Ronald McDonald clown costume, smoking a cigarette behind the wheel as water gradually fills the interior of his car. The sun roof is open (we see his party balloons escaping), so this man is not trapped, yet he makes no effort to escape as the water rises. This seems to be a suicide, yet he does not die. Breathing in water, is he returning to life in the womb, a place of deep privacy and seclusion? I found myself reminded of Bruce Nauman's famous videos of clowns in extremis (his dark and distinctive blend of comedy and cruelty), and the sense of violent threat in Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle. If these have inspired Bernatchez, he has wrung from these precedents a new comic/tragic resonance. One of the few big names in the show is David Altmejd, who also hangs out on the borderline between beauty and horror. His two giant standing figurative sculptures in this show continue his investigations of decay and regeneration. One, titled The Dentist, is a stylistic departure for the artist : a mammoth monolith in the shape of a standing man that is made entirely from faceted mirrors. This colossus houses a number of quail eggs in its sides, and its surface is shattered here and there with what look like bullet holes, some of which sprout animal teeth. Despite the evidently fragile material from which it is made, the sculpture embodies a kind of brutal force. This is the sort of material conundrum that Altmejd loves to explore. An inspired juxtaposition In one of the most effective installation decisions in the show, Altmejd's mirrored sculpture stands within hearing range of Gwenaël Bélanger's video projection featuring the sound of a shattering mirror. The camera spins in the artist's studio, the rotation recorded in myriad stills spliced together to create a stuttering visual effect. Every five minutes, a pane of mirrored glass shatters as it is dropped on the floor with a sound like church bells, the phenomenon captured in hundreds of frozen micro-moments cut together. Like the works of Alexandre Castonguay (not in the show) or the earlier, more overt digital composites of Nicholas Baier, Bélanger takes an artisan's approach to digital technology, showing off his handiwork in obvious ways, a different approach than the sleight of hand of Vancouver artists such as Jeff Wall or the younger Scott McFarland. Mirrors figure, as well, in the new work of Baier, another of the show's better-known figures. For this show he has installed a magisterial suite of his most recent scanned antique mirrors, surfaces that offer scars and imperfections from deep within their inky depths. But, unlike Baier, most of the artists here are little known. There's Valérie Blass, whose sculptures range from a fur-clad zigzag form that springs from the wall (she titled the piece Lightning Shaped Elongation of a Redhead) to a two-legged standing figure that looks like the Cowardly Lion in a pair of high-heeled hooves. (A sloth clings to its breast, regarding us with wide eyes, curiouser and curiouser.) This woman has developed her own completely distinct vision, each work embodying a precise material language. Likewise, the British-born artist Adrian Norvid, who is showing a giant cartoon drawing of the Hermit Hamlet Hotel, an alternative getaway for deadbeat longhairs with hillbilly affectations. (One slogan reads “Recluse. Footloose. Screw Loose. No Use.”) Norvid takes the eccentric posture of the outsider/slacker, throwing rocks into the mainstream from his lazy place on the riverbank. Painting comes on strong. Etienne Zack appears to tip his hat to Velazquez and other classical masters in Cut and Paste, a painting of a courtier slumped in a chair. In this Cubist-seeming likeness, he breaks the figure up into planes of form hinged together with masking tape (painted, not real). Zack takes as his subject the literal building up of form through paint. This is painting about painting. Michael Merrill engages in another form of homage with his Paintings about Art, depictions of his fellow artists' work in museums and galleries in Canada and abroad. (One downward-looking view of the stairwell at the DIA Foundation in New York is a compositional gem, executed in dazzling emerald greens.) These pictures document the watering holes and pilgrimage sites of the little tribe of peripatetic Canadian artists, curators, dealers and collectors. Like Manet's portraits of his contemporaries, they are images to inform a future history of art. Certainly there were things here that seemed weak by comparison. The artist collective Women with Kitchen Appliances felt like a seventies throwback. I could live without the karaoke saloon by Karen Tam, or Trish Middleton's detritus-strewn Factory for a Day. David Armstrong Six's wonderful little watercolours hold up better than his large installation work here. And Julie Doucet's collage works are always fun to look at, but they wear out fast. As well, I have never taken to the simulated theatrics of Carlos and Jason Sanchez, who are exhibiting a photo portrait of John Mark Karr (who claimed to have killed six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey) and another work showing a pair of soldiers on the battlefield (the maudlin title: The Misuse of Youth). And it was disappointing that Michel de Broin, who won last year's Sobey Art Award and is a significant force on the Quebec scene, missed the opportunity to make a new major piece for this show. But every exhibition of this sort has its hits and misses. Montreal's critical mass So, why is Montreal art so strong these days? First, you have to credit the strong art schools in Montreal and Quebec City. Looking at the CVs of these artists, one sees most of them are homegrown talents trained at Concordia University or the University of Quebec at Montreal. (Just a handful have gone on to hone their skills at places like Cal Arts or Columbia in the United States or Goldsmiths in London.) These programs, coupled with the viability of Quebec's artist-run-centre scene and the highly charged political push for cultural integrity over the past several decades – plus the critical funding for the museums to support it – have clearly given extra momentum to the province's artistic production. With all its vitality and freshness, the show leaves one with the unmistakable impression of Montreal's ascendancy. Quebec artists are emerging now knowing who they are, apparently not seeking validation from elsewhere to feel empowered. Let's note: Montreal is home to the only international biennial in Canada (organized by the Centre International d'art contemporain), something English Canada has never pulled off. And nowhere in Canada has a museum committed to a regular showcase of this sort for Canadian contemporary art. (Province of Ontario, you're getting your butt kicked here.) It's telling that the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal is the first to take the lead with its new Triennial. Refusing wannabe status, and with its leading institutions honouring the home culture with discernment and passion, Montreal is suddenly looking like the sexiest thing around. Nothing Is Lost, Nothing Is Created, Everything Is Transformed continues at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal until Sept. 7 (514-847-6232 or http://www.macm.org).
  4. "][/url] http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2011/10/24/montreal-graffiti-artists-paint-five-storey-ndg-masterpiece-dubbed-our-lady-of-grace/
  5. Cuban art makes a grand showing in Montreal By Diane E. Foulds, Globe Correspondent | February 3, 2008 MONTREAL - Canada is a great enabler. For years it has served as a virtual way station for travelers, allowing them passage to Havana without running afoul of US travel restrictions. Now it is making possible a journey through Cuban art. The prestigious Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is hosting the most comprehensive retrospective of Cuban art ever held outside Cuba's borders. More than three years in the making, the show surveys some 400 works by more than 100 Cuban artists. More than half of the works were brought from Cuba; the rest are on loan, largely from private collections in New York and Miami and museums, particularly Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art and the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe, whose holdings of Cuban art are the world's largest outside Cuba. Paintings and photography dominate, but sculpture, poster art, music, video, magazine covers, installations, films, even cigar wrappers make an appearance, all with the objective of capturing Cuba's elusive national identity, or "cubanida." It is an ambitious task. For historical perspective, the museum has subdivided the show into five categories: colonial art of the 19th century, interwar avant garde, the post-World War II renaissance, revolutionary art after Fidel Castro's rise in 1959, and the caustic conceptualist art that has emerged since 1980. Each section begins with photographic close-ups of the people, conditions, and mood of the era, which is an education in itself. Murder victims slumped on the street, an unsmiling Ernest Hemingway in a bar, prostitutes waiting for customers. Girded with these impressions, you then see the period through an artistic lens. There are dark-haired beauties and strong colors, which you would expect in Caribbean art. Less predictable is the originality of the work, the result, in part, of the island's geographic isolation. The big surprise is how good it is. For Nathalie Bondil, director of the Montreal museum, it was a revelation. Having accepted an invitation to visit Havana's newly renovated Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the French-born art historian was astounded "by the scale and quality of the art," she said. On a whim, she proposed an exhibit. In the three years that followed, Bondil traveled to Havana eight times. Bureaucracy was minimal, she said, as unlike the United States, Canada enjoys good relations with Cuba. But the magnitude of the undertaking raises questions. Why, with Castro ailing, would Cuba roll out such a candid look at domestic achievements, hopes, and disappointments? Could the regime be loosening its grip? The timing was "nothing political," Bondil said. She acknowledged Cuba's current drive to spur tourism, saying more Canadians visit its ocean-swept beaches than any other nationality. Bondil's motive was simple: to take the lid off Cuban culture. To make it happen, Montreal has picked up the tab. The museum has added several pieces to its collection and is keeping the door open for future collaboration. Meanwhile, it is turning the show into a veritable Cuban celebration. Ongoing events include lectures, tours, and a Cuban film festival, including "Strawberry and Chocolate," an Academy-Award-nominated 1995 comedy about homosexuality. A 424-page catalog is being published in English, French, and Spanish. In its five chapters, some artists are given long-deserved recognition, like Marcelo Pogolotti, who produced hauntingly colorful avant-garde work in the interwar years. Authored largely by Cuban scholars, the essays don't mince words. Discussing a contemporary artist's habit of ridiculing political propaganda, for example, Panama-based art critic Gerardo Mosquera laments that political slogans "have reached heights of absurdity comparable to North Korean standards." The subtext is hard to miss. One is the message that there's a lot more to Cuban culture than crumbling facades and 1950s-era American cars. The fact that Canada is hosting the exhibit and not the United States, even though US institutions have larger collections of Cuban art, is a subtle reminder of the price the US public is paying for the embargo. Havana boasts a world-class art academy, an esteemed photography school, and an impressive, if little known, art scene. Little known, that is, except for Wifredo Lam (1902-82), who ranks among the 20th century's leading painters. A whole gallery of the show is dedicated to Lam, a surrealist and Picasso protégé who died in Paris and whose paintings are stylistic hybrids reminiscent of Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, and Wassily Kandinsky. Born to a Chinese father and an African-Cuban mother, Lam spent most of his life deconstructing the Afro-Cuban aesthetic. He lived many years in Europe, but returned to Havana in the 1960s. In 1967 he orchestrated one of Cuba's greatest artistic moments, the collective painting of a massive pro-revolutionary mural. The canvas, a patchwork of images radiating outward in a great spiral, was the handiwork of some 100 Cuban and foreign writers, painters, and intellectuals. Each was assigned a square; number 26 was reserved for Castro, but he never showed up, so the square was left blank. This is the mural's first appearance outside Cuba. One of the show's biggest revelations is how tolerant Castro has been of provocative art. Though dependent on Soviet subsidies, the Cuban leader eschewed Socialist Realism. And though artists were censored and even jailed in the 1980s and beyond, their defiance was not quelled. "Castro was always open to abstract and Pop Art," Bondil said. "It was completely different from the situation in Russia." When the Soviet subsidies vanished, living standards dropped, and works of art became even more politically abrasive, taking aim not only at Castro, but at the United States, too. A display called "Cuba, Island of Fiesta and Siesta," parodies the Cuban stereotypes pervasive in US society. But with Florida only 90 miles away, the US presence remains a constant in Cuban thought. All the more reason to hope that a similar show opens in the States. "I must say that the lenders have been especially touched and happy to collaborate with us on this show," said Bondil in an interview published in the January issue of the museum's magazine. "The passion for Cuban art transcends all borders." Diane E. Foulds, a freelance writer in Burlington, Vt., can be reached at [email protected] http://www.boston.com/travel/getaways/canada/articles/2008/02/03/cuban_art_makes_a_grand_showing_in_montreal?mode=PF
  6. Oops! Paris Match overlooks Quebec City in special edition Confuses capital with province. Montreal focus of magazine on anniversary MARIANNE WHITE, Canwest News Service Published: 7 hours ago A leading French magazine's special edition on Quebec's 400th anniversary confused the founding of the city with that of the province. Even though the story should have been about Quebec City's 400th birthday, the 30-page special doesn't have a line about it. Instead, it's all about Montreal, its artists, its universities and its restaurants, a double slight because of the rivalry between the two cities. The editor-in-chief of Paris Match admits the magazine got it wrong by leaving Quebec City out of the picture in the special edition, which hit newsstands in 120 countries yesterday. "We had no idea this was the celebration of the founding of Quebec City. In our minds, it was about the birth of Quebec (the province). This is how we see it in France and it was important for us to (put) something in the magazine to show how much France loves Quebec," Gilles Martin-Chauffier said in an interview. "But when we got here this week, we realized that there was a misunderstanding." Martin-Chauffier noted that people in both cities raised the issue with magazine staff who travelled across the ocean to promote the special edition after it had been printed. The issue focuses on Quebec artists who are widely popular in France, such as Luc Plamondon, Stéphane Rousseau and Anthony Kavanagh. Inside the magazine, 15 of them are photographed in front of the Eiffel Tower. Five other artists posed for the magazine in Montreal in front of a statue of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal. Paris Match also tells readers where to dine out in Montreal. "We didn't know there was a competition between Quebec City and Montreal and to be honest, it doesn't really matter to us and to our readers. But we now see that it is sensitive issue here," Martin-Chauffier said. The rivalry between Quebec City and Montreal is legendary and it reached a climax when Quebec City still had a hockey team in the NHL. The Quebec Nordiques moved out of the city in 1995. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=d5f8f3e0-49f1-485b-9f43-6625a4a25e85
  7. http://entertainment.time.com/2013/06/15/o-canada-the-cool-pleasures-of-the-montreal-jazz-festival/
  8. Sur le site de SNC-LAVALIN http://www.spiegelworld.ca/ EMPIRE CANADA Direct from its world premiere smash-hit season at Times Square in New York City and sold-out seasons across Australia, Japan and New Zealand, EMPIRE is the most jaw-dropping show ever seen on a spiegeltent stage – and now it’s heading to Canada. Smashing through the borders of comedy, circus, vaudeville and burlesque, EMPIRE presents the sexiest most daring artists from across the globe. UPCOMING TOUR DATES Montreal : Starting 15 April 2015 Québec City : Starting 1 July 2015 sent via Tapatalk
  9. With Festival Season Underway, Montreal Reflects on 10-Year Cultural Plan BY GREG SCRUGGS | JUNE 17, 2016 Summery electronic beats floated through the air alongside fragrant cheese and the occasional whiff of marijuana. Picnic blankets laden with pâté and baguettes commingled with flowing bottles of beer and wine. Families parked strollers, millennials lounged near their bikes, and techno tourists went gaga for Swedish DJ and producer Peder Mannerfelt. The occasion for such a languid Saturday afternoon earlier this month in downtown Montreal was MUTEK, a festival dedicated to electronic music and digital arts that held its 17th edition this year. Its free programming at the Parterre, a simple plaza easily converted into a performing arts venue, is just a small sampling of the festival overload that takes hold every summer in the city’s Quartier des Spectacles, a downtown cultural district that hosts most of the outdoor fêtes. Even as the 40,000 MUTEK attendees, roughly half from outside the metropolitan area, fluttered among a handful of the Quartier’s sleek venues, workers were busy maneuvering lighting trusses and erecting stages on downtown streets to accommodate the 500,000 that came for Les FrancoFolies, a French-language music festival that wraps up Friday, and the 2.5 million expected for the Montreal Jazz Festival, which starts June 26. Montreal is North America’s undisputed festival capital, with 200 annual medium- to large-size events downtown that generate over 1,000 festival days, according to the city’s Bureau of Cinema, Festivals, and Events. “For the size of Montreal, that’s pretty astounding,” says the bureau’s director, Daniel Bissonnette. The metro area of 4 million has a comparatively low GDP per capita, he points out, but through a combination of dedicated cultural infrastructure and savvy marketing, it punches well above its weight. Cities have come knocking at his door to ask what’s in Montreal’s secret sauce, he says, most recently Los Angeles. At the end of June, Bissonnette will travel to Kraków, Poland, for a meeting of a nascent, as-yet-unnamed international network of festival cities that also includes the likes of Adelaide, Barcelona, Berlin and Edinburgh. But as the city’s international festival acclaim grows, it must also continue to nurture the local cultural community, whose public arts funding is in limbo as the provincial government plans to cut back while the federal government has pledged to increase support. Plus, next year concludes the scope of the city’s 10-year cultural plan and the city council is poised to adopt a new strategy. While it’s still early for any concrete details, the bustling summer scene downtown offers some clues as to what the future might hold. The square-kilometer patch of the eastern edge of downtown Montreal demarcated as the Quartier des Spectacles was once the city’s red light district and a popular cheap housing option for artists. But it was also the home to the symphony and opera halls, a clutch of theaters and music venues, and the Museum of Contemporary Art — now MUTEK’s annual home base. First proposed in 2002, the Quartier des Spectacles came together over the last decade through a series of demolitions, rehabs and new constructions. The artists living there were, by and large, kicked out — whether by eviction or escalating housing costs as new condos came into the neighborhood. Some affordable live-work space was built in the Mile End neighborhood in exchange for the loss, but the artistic community who created the cachet for the neighborhood to become the Quartier des Spectacles was not compensated directly. While some of Montreal’s infamous strip clubs remain, it’s hardly the red light district it used to be — though red illumination on many of the Quartier’s sidewalks pay homage to its seedier days. And new construction continues apace, from outdoor spots like the Parterre and the Place des Festivals to new anchors like a fresh home for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and next year’s planned arrival of the National Film Board of Canada. The result has been a resurgence in downtown living by a more well-heeled crowd attracted to the city’s cultural offerings, which mirrors trends across North America. But while cities like Philadelphia have managed at best an Avenue of the Arts, Montreal has taken over a whole neighborhood and it continues to grow. “The Quartier des Spectacles is not a finished thing,” notes MUTEK Director Alain Mongeau. Chantal Fontaine opened a bistro two years ago in the heart of the quarter along Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which is pedestrianized during the summer festival months. “The golden age of the red light district passed a long time ago,” she says, dismissing any nostalgia for the neighborhood’s previous incarnation. Also an accomplished comedienne, Fontaine lives three blocks away and notes that she can walk out the front door of her condo at 7:45 p.m. to make an 8 o’clock show. She envisions the Quartier as the city’s answer to Broadway in New York and hopes that the city’s new cultural strategy will reflect that ambition. “International renown, that Montreal becomes an incubator of shows that tour the world,” she says. “We must value our local culture abroad, we have the talent for that.” MUTEK, meanwhile, is already doing that and downtown is essential to its identity. “If we moved to another neighborhood we’d have to remap the whole discourse of the festival,” Mongeau says. “We feel like we’re contributing to the brand of the city.” Blending culture and commerce doesn’t sit well with everyone however. “Western society is pushing us to be entrepreneur artists,” laments Ghislain Poirier, a DJ/producer and a fixture on Montreal’s music scene who has played at MUTEK in past years. In 2010, he wrote an open letter to the mayor complaining that the city was kowtowing to new condo dwellers’ noise complaints and shutting down music clubs — the very venues that made the neighborhood appealing for real estate developers in the first place. That issue has since quieted down, with Bissonnette pointing out new building codes requiring triple-pane windows, policies governing the timing of outdoor amplified sound during festivals, and municipal noise inspectors who will come to a complainant’s home to objectively measure interior sound. “That’s the price you pay to have the excitement downtown,” he says. “A park far away from downtown? That’s not how Montreal works.” Nevertheless, Poirier is convinced that the cultural geography of the city has changed as a result. “Downtown is more for performing, it’s not a place of creation,” he says. “Before it was lofts and artists. Now it’s venues and festivals, mass culture and Hollywood big events.” At the same time, such bookings are valuable and Poirier looks forward to the fat paycheck from festival gigs in the Quartier des Spectacles, which help him pay Montreal’s still affordable, but nevertheless rising, cost of living. While the trend of displaced artists is hardly unique to Montreal, the phenomenon of cultural gentrification is atypical — newer, fancier forms of culture displacing older, scruffier types. As the city prepares to plan ahead for the next 10 years, it may be time to put on the brakes, Poirier says. “There are almost too many events. We’re coming to a saturation point.” https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/montreal-festivals-10-year-cultural-plan
  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/arts/design/03darc.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&ref=arts&pagewanted=print February 3, 2008 Art It’s Not Politics. It’s Just Cuba. By DAVID D’ARCY IMAGES of boats and the horizon are a relative constant in Cuban art. For Cubans they’re often an expression of longing for life beyond a geographically and politically enclosed space. For the rare Americans who ever see Cuban art, the images can be a reminder of a place they are forbidden to visit. For the next five months, witnessing at least one aspect of Cuba will in theory be a bit easier for Americans. “¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to Today,” an exhibition that just opened at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, offers more than 400 images and objects from the island that Christopher Columbus is said to have called “the most beautiful land that eyes have ever seen.” Many of the paintings were lent by the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana with encouragement from Cuban officials who want to promote the notion of Cuban culture, said Moraima Clavijo Colom, the museum director. “That Cuba was not just a place of sun, beaches, rum and dancing,” she said in a telephone interview. It may seem provocative to dangle this forbidden fruit near the border of the United States, whose citizens can face fines for traveling to Cuba under the latest version of a 46-year-old trade embargo. But Nathalie Bondil, the director of the Montreal museum and the curator of the exhibition, said: “It’s not a political show. It’s just a show.” She declined to speculate on whether any museum in the United States could cooperate legally on such a scale with a comparable Cuban institution. “It’s not a question,” she said. “Canada is a different country.” Canada is one of Cuba’s most important trading partners, and Canadians make up the largest group of tourists who visit Cuba, she said, “so Cuba is an obvious partner for us.” Still, given Cuba’s history, any exhibition of work produced there seems to become a show about Cuba and Cuban identity. The date of 1868 was anything but arbitrary, Ms. Bondil noted: it was the year in which Cubans in the town of Bayamo first declared independence from Spain. And by including “art and history” in the exhibition title, the curators also signal that the subject of much Cuban art is Cuba and Cubans. “Cuban art cannot escape the necessary negotiation with the historical situation in which it occurs — that seems to be the defining element,” said Stéphane Aquin, the Montreal curator who selected the works made after 1959. “The best that I’ve seen of Cuban art is always negotiating its space or reacting to its historical condition.” Like any survey of art and history in a Western country, this one rolls through landscape painting, portraiture and genre scenes, beginning with folkloric images of Afro-Cuban rural life. (Slavery was not banned in Cuba until 1888.) Yet two mediums help to set Cuba and this exhibition apart from other marches through history. Photographers have documented Cuban life since the middle of the 19th century, and some 200 photographs lent by the Fototeca de Cuba in Havana guide visitors from the 1860s to the present. Among them are Walker Evans’s grim images of Havana street life, included in Carleton Beals’s 1933 book, “The Crime of Cuba,” a lament for ordinary people living under the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado y Morales (1925-1933). There are also abundant images from an inventive graphic arts industry that advertised to a growing consumer population in the 1920s and 1930s, deploying the new vocabularies of Modernism and Surrealism. Cuba’s vibrant poster culture was so strong that it survived the transition to one-party Communism after Fidel Castro’s takeover in 1959. Yet if there is a star to be celebrated in this show, it is not Mr. Castro but Wifredo Lam, born in 1902 of Chinese and Afro-Cuban parents. He traveled to Europe to study art in 1923, joined André Breton’s Surrealist circle, fought in the Spanish Civil War and painted in a Surrealist style that caught Picasso’s eye with its use of African imagery, which resembled forms that Picasso borrowed earlier in the century. Picasso was much quoted as saying: “He’s got the right. He’s a Negro.” Back in Cuba in 1942 as a refugee from the Nazis, Lam caught the eye of Alfred H. Barr Jr., director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Although Lam steered clear of Barr’s 1944 exhibition “Modern Painters of Cuba” for fear of being labeled a “Cuban painter” — he showed at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York instead — MoMA acquired Lam’s large 1943 canvas “The Jungle,” a thicket of vegetal fronds and human-animal figures in dark greens, now considered his masterpiece. MoMA is not lending “The Jungle” for the show because of its fragility but contributed “Mother and Child II” (1939), one of 14 paintings by Lam on view. Lam’s family, one of the largest holders of his works, did not lend pictures to the exhibition. Reached by telephone at his home in Paris, Lam’s son Eskil, 46, said that Ms. Bondil sought his advice on the exhibition but no loans. He said that he had not read the exhibition catalog, which includes two essays on his father and another on a collective mural that his father played a role in conceiving and painting. He chuckled at the title of one essay, “Lam: A Visual Arts Manifesto for the Third World.” “It’s always complicated with Cuba,” he said. “With Cuba there’s always an ideological supervision. I wouldn’t say control, but supervision. They want to make sure that what is being said, or the message put forth in a foreign exhibition, doesn’t go against today’s Cuba.” “My father supported the revolution when it took place,” Mr. Lam noted, adding, “I would say that my father was a humanist more than anything else, and that his participation in or his enthusiasm for the Cuban Revolution was definitely one from the 1960s, for a movement of emancipation of liberation more than as an ideological communist venture.” Lam remains the through-line of the Montreal show, even though he left Cuba in 1946 and never lived there full time again. The exhibition’s centerpiece is “Cuba Colectiva,” a gigantic 1967 mural on six panels that was initially conceived by Lam and created by 100 Cuban and European artists for the Salon de Mai, an annual exhibition. Although artists were making “collective works” in the United States and Europe at the time, often in protest of the Vietnam War, this mural was a tribute to a romantic view of Cuban Socialism that inspired many Europeans artists at the time. The huge mural traveled the following year from Cuba to France, where curators said it was taken off display after a few hours to avoid damage in the May 1968 student uprising. Back in Havana, it was eventually placed in storage. When the museum was emptied in 1999 for renovation, the mural and its frame were found to have been invaded by termites. Without money to restore it, the Cubans found a Parisian dealer to underwrite the job, and the mural is being shown for the first time outside Cuba since its conservation. Like the mural, much Cuban art since 1959 has been in the service of the Castro regime, either in Socialist-Realist styles through the 1970s (when Russians taught in art academies there) or in a Pop Art style adapted to official portraiture of figures like Mr. Castro and Che Guevara. “It’s a Pop form of vocabulary — the flashy colors, the bright letters, said Mr. Aquin of the Montreal museum. “They were taking the Pop aesthetic and functionalizing it.” Less functional ideologically are works made by contemporary artists who are beginning to find markets abroad after years during which their only client was the state. In the 1980s and ’90s, as Soviet aid dried up, art materials were particularly scarce, and mixed-media artists like Alexis Leyva (Kcho) and the duo, Los Carpinteros ( all represented in the Montreal show) constructed work from whatever they could scavenge. It was a new Cuban hybridization: a mix of found objects and Arte Povera. “I bought a sculpture, and I asked the artist if he could put it in bubble wrap for me,” said Howard Farber, an American collector. “He didn’t know what I was talking about.” While most Cuban artists struggle, some are thriving, like Carlos Garaicoa, who takes photographs of empty sites where buildings once stood in Havana and then constructs the former structures in delicate thread atop the pictures. Mr. Garaicoa, 40, has had solo exhibitions in the United States that included his large installations of sculptural urban ensembles — he calls them “utopian cities” — but he has not been granted a visa to enter the country. One of his clusters is the final installation in the Montreal museum’s show. Mr. Garaicoa’s dealer, Lea Freid of Lombard-Freid Projects, suggested that this softly illuminated city in miniature could be an image of a place awaiting Cubans one day after the death of Mr. Castro, or after the end of the United States embargo. She said it was no surprise that Mr. Garaicoa’s work is celebrated in Montreal. “I think there is a connection, an affection and an ongoing relationship on all levels that doesn’t occur here,” she said. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
  11. Let us decide its own cultural priorities, Charest says Quebec premier calls for reversal of arts funding cuts KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 8 hours ago (The Gazette)
  12. Digital 04 Studios announced the return of its popular conference in Montreal geared toward the digital art industry. Named Advanced Digital Art Production Techniques (//ADAPT), the conference will feature more than 20 digital art masters, world famous film, vfx and videogame studios. This year, the //ADAPT 2007 Conference will once again be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Montreal, on Sept. 24-28. In addition to the master classes, the four-day event will feature new programs and activities such as the //ADAPT Theater and the //ADAPT Art Expo, designed to promote and inspire artists and display the amazing art work developed in leading films, vfx and videogame productions worldwide. "With this announcement, Digital 04 Studios is proud to once again support this vibrant industry of digital art worldwide." said co-founder Jonathan Abenhaim. Throughout the next few weeks, stay tuned to the new http://www.adaptmontreal.com website for program information and registration. Last year, the //ADAPT 2006 conference registered 900 attendees from all over the world, nearly exceeding capacity. Thirty percent of attendees came from Asia, Europe and the U.S., and were made up of artists, students, film and videogame developers. "We were really amazed with the success of //ADAPT 2006. The participation and interest from artists and studios exceeded our expectations and confirmed the need for such an event," said co-founder Jean-Eric Hénault. Master classes were given by numerous world-renowned artists, such as Syd Mead, Scott Robertson, Iain McCaig and Mark Goerner, who featured their work and art production techniques. In addition to the training, attendees had the opportunity to network & interview with major studios, such as, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Arts, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M), Beenox and Hybride. Marc Petit, vp, Autodesk, Media and Ent., stated during his address at the Saturday evening cocktail mixer, "Montreal is the center of the CG universe. ADAPT gives the international 3D community the opportunity to learn from a number of leading artists and network within the industry." Digital 04 Studios, created for artists by artists, is the corporate entity presenting and organizing the //ADAPT Conference. Co-founded by Jean-Eric Hénault, president of CGChannel.com, Emile Ghorayeb, formerly at DreamWorks Animation, and Jonathan Abenhaim, formerly of Ubisoft Ent. The //ADAPT Conference was established in 2006 by Digital 04 Studios to teach advanced digital art production techniques and to promote digital artists worldwide.