Montreal’s two biggest museums – usually competitors for traffic – have come together to produce a sum greater than their parts: the exhibition 1+1=1, featuring the best contemporary art their shared collections have to offer…
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal had the brilliant idea to unite some of the very best pieces in their permanent contemporary art collections to make a whopper of a show in the Jean-Noël Desmarais pavilion of the MMFA. They selected five dozen works out of a choice of about 8,000 – per institution!
The MMFA’s contemporary art curator Stéphane Aquin explains the birth of the idea: “Since we already have the Peter Doig show on, the director of the museum, Natalie Bondil, thought it would be fantastic to make the spring of 2014 the season of contemporary art. She said, ‘Why don’t we invite the MAC?’ It’s a first – it’s never been done in the 50 years since the Musée d’art contemporain was founded.”
The exhibition effectively launches the celebrations for the contemporary art museum’s half-centennial, of which you’ll hear much more in the coming months. “In that way and in others it’s been a historic event,” says the MAC’s director John Zeppetelli. “We’re so glad the MMFA is launching our celebrations.”
He adds, though, that the curatorial process wasn’t all smiles and giggles. “We must admit there was an aspect of friendly competition about the project,” he laughs. “It was like, ‘Oh yeah, you’ve got that? Well we’ve got this. Top that!”
The result is all the richer for it – blending Canadian and Québécois art seamlessly among the iconic international works, the exhibition’s six rooms boast some fascinating dialogues between art works, and a stellar artist lineup: everyone from David Altmejd to Ai Wei Wei to Louise Bourgeois to Betty Goodwyn is represented. It is, indeed, the kickoff to a killer contemporary art season.
1+1=1: When Collections Collide, until June 15, 2014