City of Lights, City That Never Sleeps… what are you when you’re both? You’re Montreal during the annual Nuit Blanche and Art Souterrain, that’s what – the arty party night to end all party nights in the city that parties all the time…
Don’t expect to get any rest if you’re in Montreal on March 2, because the night will come alive as the city revels all the way to the next day. As the grand finale of the 10-day long Montreal En Lumière festival, Nuit Blanche Montreal lights the city on fire through the night with, among other things, more art than you can shake a stick at. In addition to the museums and galleries in the Quartier des Spectacles that stay open all night and generally put on a fiesta (drinks and snacks, performances and spontaneous dance parties are all regular occurrences), there are events happening all over town, from Old Montreal to the Plateau to Mile End and the Olympic Park.
How about you start your night out with a tour on the giant Ferris Wheel in the heart of the main site downtown? If you want to stay in that area, may we suggest the cooking class at the MMFA, followed by the philosophical dance party at the Grande Bibliothèque (‘cause we all know no one could cut a rug like Goethe) and a few more hours shaking your moneymaker at Karnival, a huge fiesta hosted by Poirier at Club Soda.
If you’re wandering down to Old Montreal, get your sing on at PHI Centre or your swim on at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure before taking in a gumboot show at City Hall. Plateau/Mile End bound? Make sure you stop in at Nouveau Palais for a flick or two, Monastiraki for the famous collage party and Mainline Theatre to witness a theatrical extravaganza. If the Olympic Park calls to you, you’ll get a sneak peek at the brand new, as-yet-unopened Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, plus you can skate on a superhero-themed ice rink.
Nuit Blanche also marks the launch of an art trail through the underground city: Art Souterrain, which runs from March 2 to 17. During one of the coldest months in the city, culture vultures can take refuge in the toasty underground network of malls and metro stations and be thoroughly entertained all the while, thanks to 7 kilometers of in situ exhibitions, installations and performances by over 120 artists. The word “smorgasbord” comes to mind! Here are five must-sees on the trail.
1) Start at the centre of it all, at the Place des Arts, in Zone 1, with the kid-friendly work of Montreal artist TAVA, who harkens back to an old school comic aesthetic to create an imaginary world with his installation La Voie Lactée (the Milky Way). Kids can use it as a maze!
2) Get brainy thanks to Le Pendule (the Pendulum), a performance/video/installation work by Barcelona artist Julia Mariscal, at Complexe Desjardins, in Zone 2. Barcelona is this year’s guest city, and there are many works by compadres throughout this zone. This one represents a whole environment, with sound accompanying a projection onto sleek metallic spheres that recall planets.
3) Get a taste of home with Mémoire en cours (Memories in the making), an installation by Yu-hang Huang composed of dozens and dozens of little white houses suspended at head-height. Dive neck deep into these symbols of memory-making at Palais des Congrès, in Zone 4.
4) Montreal artists Paul Litherland looks into the contrast of work and home with his photographic project Postes de travail familial (Family work stations), exhibited at the Tour de la Bourse, in Zone 6. Featuring portraits of particular homes, the project will continue to develop over the years to track our growing computerization.
5) Pazzazz, by renowned Montreal artist Dominique Pétrin who was in the last Quebec Art Triennial, is an eye-catching fresque whose style the artist describes as “Greco-Roman mixed with a 1970s dance hall vibe.” See what that means at the CDP Capital Centre, in Zone 7.
Nuit Blanche, March 2, 2013
Art Souterrain, March 2 to 17, 2013