In keeping with its mandate to involve artists in every way possible, the MMFA decided to involve Montreal collectives En Masse, Paprika and Rita to liven up their 16,000 square-foot art and education studios, where countless classes are given to kids of all ages.
En Masse is an intrepid fraternity of 30-plus boundary-breaking Montreal artists that has communal creativity as its very raison d’être. Mostly makers of street art, the collective first got involved with the museum last year with the super popular exhibition Big Bang. Their room in that show, painted, drawn and collaged from floor to ceiling in a black-and-white fairytale universe, was an absolute crowd favourite. Managed by the trio of Jason Botkin, Rupert Bottenberg and Fred Caron, En Masse makes murals where every participant – whether culled from a background in comic art, commercial illustration, graffiti or design – retains the freedom to create what they want. The result is ever-changing and fantastical.
“We’ve become big fans of En Masse,” says Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA. “After the scheduled disappearance of the impressive fresco they executed last year for our exhibition Big Bang, I wanted to give them another opportunity to exercise their creativity. As a link between the museum and the street, they are standard-bearers for the freedom of artistic expression for everyone, without barriers or discrimination.”
In addition to the mural work by En Masse, the new learning environment boasts multicoloured mobiles by Paprika and wacky furniture by Rita. There are also plush rainbows by Montreal artist Claude Cormier – because everybody needs a plush rainbow or two in life, right?
Michel de la Chenelière Art & Education Studios, 1380 Crescent Street, (514) 285-1600