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Must-see autumn 2015 Montréal museum exhibitions

There are several hot-ticket exhibitions on display at Montréal museums this autumn. Here are some choice picks: The George S. Zimbel: A Humanist Photographer exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has plenty of star power: The exhibition features seventy images from Zimbel’s collection and covers three years of his career: 1953, 1954 and 1955. The result of photographic commissions for magazines and personal projects, some of these photos have become iconic, such as his series on Marilyn Monroe shot in 1954 during the production of the film The Seven Year Itch by director Billy Wilder. With a camera in his hand since his teenage years, Zimbel’s New York street scenes reflect the social and economic climate of postwar America. “1953, ’54, ’55 — those were tense years,” says Zimbel, who has lived and worked in Montréal since the early 1980s. “I was in the U.S. Army in Germany working on the Rhine River, but on leave I was seeing Europe for the first time. Then back to New York to freelance for magazines, industry, any assignment, anywhere — New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Texas — I was on my own, shooting all the time, had to make a… / Read More →

Montréal Shows Off its incredible fall cultural calendar

We’re standing on the doorstep to September, and while we have lived and loved our gorgeous Montréal summer, we can’t wait for fall because the city’s got a cultural calendar that’s bursting with discovery. Looking for something to do? Let’s peruse just a sample of what Montréal’s got in store this autumn. Dance   The pleasure and passion of dance is everywhere this fall, from the lovely pirouettes and astonishing jetées of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal to the raw expressiveness of contemporary dance troupes like La La La Human Steps. Experience the seduction of salsa at the Salsathèque, the passion of flamenco, the amped-up energy of breakdance battles, or the fun of freestyling yourself! History The cooler weather tends to trigger a little nostalgia and introspection, and a great way to let it run its course is wandering through some of our halls of history. Whether you’re walking through the city’s past with the help of Montréal en histoires cutting-edge app, delving into stories of our communities at the McCord Museum or taking in an exhibition on the fascinating Aztec civilization at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, a trip back in time is great for reconnecting. Music Montréal’s music scene… / Read More →

The must-see exhibitions this summer in Montréal

As the culturally vibrant town that it is, Montréal is host to large-scale exhibitions this summer. From the dreamy and glassy universe of David Altmejd to Rodin’s spectacular bronzes to the luminous photographs of Horst, the town beams with artistic brilliance.  David Altmejd’s Flux and Jon Rafman Be sure to catch Flux from David Altmejd at the Musée d’art contemporain (MAC). Through materials (e.g., plexiglass and mirrors), scale (of the massive kind), and fantastical iconography, this Montréal artist now based in New York City exposes his creative world of wonders. Breathtaking and fascinating, you can easily spend hours just examining the many facets of The Flux and The Puddle, an impressive and massive showcase of the artist’s wild ingenuity. Meanwhile, The Spectre and The Main, at once static and dynamic, recalls the discovery of the ruins of an enchanted civilization as described in Barjavel’s “La Nuit des Temps.” And what about those giant figures—somewhat exotic, somewhat decomposed, and totally extraordinary. Also at the MAC is Montréal artist Jon Rafman’s inaugural exhibition of new and recent works. Drawing inspiration from the Internet and video game culture, as well as from some particularly obscure sub-cultures of the web, he creates alienated environments… / Read More →

Why Montréal’s parks and public spaces are a great place to park it

Because many Montrealers don’t have backyards, green and public spaces are a big deal here, especially in the long, languid days of summer. They offer excellent spots to chill, converge, and often take in some fun extras like music, markets and theatre. Read on for where to get more of a Montréal summer’s one-of-a-kind al fresco entertainment. Shakespeare in the Park – Just bring a lawn chair or blanket and soak up the beautiful language of the Bard. For the past 26 years, Repercussion Theatre has been staging Shakespeare’s plays for free in parks across the city. Each year, they inspire a love of the language of Shakespeare, through sonnets, speeches, soliloquies and solid acting. The production for summer 2015 is Twelfth Night: Or What You Will. Yours to enjoy, under the twinkling firmament. McCord Museum Urban Forest – Say what? You read that right: urban forest. And what you’ll wander through is a flora and fauna of food trucks, pianos picnic tables and, of course, people, all downtown, on Victoria Street, between Sherbrooke Street West and President-Kennedy Avenue. Until September 27, you can sample delectable dishes from food trucks during the week, plus learn how to dance swing two… / Read More →

Non-Stop Action, Amazing Animation and Rare Films at Fantasia

The Fantasia International Film Festival, now in its 19th edition, has earned itself a world-wide reputation for bringing the most bizarre, bloody and rare action, horror and animation films to Montréal every summer – but the fest also peddles in comedy, B-movies and even the occasional sentimental stand-out for the faint of heart. Whether you’re a seasoned film fan or just want to see a seriously memorable movie, the 2015 edition of Fantasia, July 14 to August 4, lives up to the challenge: choose among 135 feature films and 300 shorts from around the world. High-budget explosive action movies from Hong Kong, Japan, China and South Korea (see Choi Dong-hoon’s Assassination, Kung Fu Killer, Golden Cane Warrior, Robbery and more) rub shoulders with shoestring features from Uganda (Who Killed Captain Alex?), wild comedies (like iPhone-filmed Tangerine) and documentaries (from the emotionally complex inspiration Thor to karate-master unveiling The Real Miyagi). Animation films many years in the making (see Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan, which is this year’s official closing film, opening film Miss Hokusai, On the White Planet and Teana: 10,000 Years Later) screen alongside new sensations such as horror-comedies Cooties (starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson) and SXSW official… / Read More →

Blockbuster exhibition of iconic fashion photographer Horst at McCord Museum

The first major retrospective of the works of iconic 20th century fashion photographer Horst P. Horst, Horst: Photographer of Style, is on display at Montréal’s McCord Museum and features over 250 vintage shots that transcend time, from Horst’s Hollywood portraits of such stars as Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford, to nearly 100 covers of Vogue magazine. Produced by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and curated by Susanna Brown, the McCord is the touring exhibition’s first international stop. “I began thinking about this exhibition more than five years ago when I visited the Horst estate in America,” says Brown. “The more I looked at his work, the more I struggled to understand why he isn’t as revered as his fellow photographers of the last century, like Richard Avedon and Cecil Beaton, who have become household names. “Interestingly, the images of Horst are familiar to people, but his name is not. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but after interviewing colleagues, friends and family, I think it came down to Horst’s own modesty, his own disbelief that these photographs would be worth anything outside the confines of magazines.” The McCord’s beautifully laid-out exhibition is divided into several sections with different themes,… / Read More →

Deals and steals at Montréal museums

Montréal Museums’ Day is a great way for art-lovers on a budget to visit Montréal’s 38 museums for free in late May each year. But the city’s major museums also have many deals year-round to see blockbuster exhibits as well as their permanent collections. Here are some choice activities and deals for solo visitors as well as families on a budget: Family deals The oldest and busiest museum in Canada, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts schedules Family Weekends with children’s drop-in workshops and interactive tours of the collections, as well as lectures and film screenings in the Maxwell Cummings Auditorium. MMFA admission for children 12 and under is free, although fees do apply for the MMFA’s popular Museum Day Camps for children. The Musée d’art contemporain admission for children aged 12 and under is free, although fees do apply for the MAC’s popular Museum Day Camps for children.  The MAC also charges a flat-rate $30 admission for families (2 adults with children). The McCord Museum admission and activities are free for children aged 12 and under. On arrival at the McCord’s admissions desk, kids will get a free backpack (as long as quantities last) containing everything they’ll need for… / Read More →

McCord Museum’s provocative “Camp Fires” exhibition explores gay identity

The McCord Museum presents the provocative exhibition, Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette, which explores explicit themes and gay identity via 60 works by three internationally-renowned French-Canadian ceramic artists. “The works have been assembled around the theme ‘Queer Baroque’ because all three artists explore aspects of Baroque,” says exhibition curator Robin Metcalfe. “All three artists were raised in Catholic culture which is steeped in the Baroque, which itself was appropriated in the construction of queer identity: aristocratic and aesthetic sensibilities were appropriated in the 19th century by people constructing a new homosexual identity, people like Oscar Wilde. For instance, the painting Blue Boy (by Thomas Gainsborough) exemplified masculinity in its day, but is seen as very gay today. It has come to be read that way because of the appropriation of the aesthetic.” Produced by Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, this touring exhibition is currently on display at the McCord Museum until August 15, 2015. Metcalfe says the three artists were chosen because of their longstanding relationships with one another: Milette and Mathieu were students together, and Milette and Foulem are married. “They also share a common political discourse and produce ceramics as a… / Read More →

LGBT summertime fun in Montréal 2015

There is plenty for LGBT tourists to see and do in Montréal this summer, from the city’s annual LGBT Pride celebrations and concerts by pop and jazz divas, to major museum exhibitions showcasing gay artists and gay life. The summer kicks off with Montréal drag legend Mado Lamotte’s 15th annual Drag Race (yes, it predates RuPaul’s Drag Race) at the Montreal Fringe Festival, whose 2015 edition runs from June 1 to 21. Several professional Montréal drag queens team up with their amateur counterparts for a side-splitting outdoor afternoon competition on June 20 in Parc des Amériques. Free admission. The McCord Museum has two major summertime exhibitions of particular interest to the LGBT community: The Camp Fires: the queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette show features 70 pieces by three renowned Canadian ceramists whose works have for over 30 years explored “’camp”’ themes and the gay male experience with an aesthetically powerful body of work rooted in the history of ceramics and contemporary culture. Runs from April 10 to August 16. The second exhibition is Horst: Photographer of Style, the internationally-acclaimed retrospective of the works of legendary German-American gay artist Horst P. Horst (1906-1999), one of the 20th century’s… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: March 19 to 25

As Mother Nature tries to decide which way to go out there, huddle indoors with a few dozen good movies thanks to the International Festival of Films on Art this week, or lose yourself in the masses of programming for Digital Spring. There’s also tons of family activities, theatre, ballet, music, and the exciting kickoff of the sugaring season. (Be sure to warn your dentist.) All about arts The 2015 edition of the International Festival of Films on Art presents some 60 films about art this year, running from March 19 to 29, in cinemas all over the downtown core. You can see films on everything from architecture to dance to animation; goodies like Escape From Moomin Valley, all about the fantastical world of comic artist Tove Jansson, or The Man Who Saved the Louvre, about the heroic efforts of Louvre director Jacques Jaujard during the Second World War. Read more here. Theatre lovers won’t want to miss their last chance to catch The Goodnight Bird, at Centaur, a play about a vagrant who lands on a middle-aged couple’s balcony. It runs until March 22. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal premiere their latest opus on March 19: The Little Prince, chorographed by Dutch… / Read More →