One of Montreal’s go-to destinations for contemporary art is somewhat hidden away, but well worth the trip. DHC/ART is a cutting-edge gallery in a converted historic building on a little cobblestone side street called St-Jean in Old Montreal…
The DHC/ART has a mission to be one of the country’s leading venues for contemporary art. It certainly is. The gallery is loved by art aficionados, as it features world-famous artists such as Marc Quinn and Jenny Holzer.
DHC exhibits are housed in two different buildings. At 465 St-Jean you’ll find a small gallery and a little boutique with catalogues on the collections. The main gallery is right next door at 451 St-Jean. This wonderfully quirky old building was renovated with streamlined simplicity– all white and brushed stainless steel. You enter a small front hall and take an elevator to the three floors of gallery spaces, or if you prefer, the stairs.
For the current show, featuring Berlin-based artist Ceal Floyer, the stairs are a good bet: they are part of the art! On each step she has posted signs saying ‘Attention à la marche’. The play on words is through the word marche. In French, it means both the step, and the walk. Thus, as you walk up and down the steps, you are part of this fun piece.
My favourite work of Floyer’s is ‘Overgrowth 2004’. It is a projection of a huge ‘tree’. However, as you examine it, you realize that is actually a bonsai – a traditionally tiny tree. The artist made it huge by moving the slide projector way back. By using the projector to manipulate the image, she has actually included it in her art work / installation. Overgrowth was shown at the most recent Venice Biennale in 2009.
This June, DHC will feature international art stars. American artist John Currin, who has had retrospectives at such prestigious galleries at the Tate in London, and the Whitney in New York, will show with Belgium artist Berlinde de Bruyckere, who has exhibited at the Biennales in Venice and Berlin.
(TIP: Shows are free and gallery times are flexible. But I reccomend going early on a Sunday, or before dinner on a week-day. If you go for the latter option, why not try out the sleek Vauvert for some Fricots (a riff on tapas), which is a short couple blocks away.)
DHC/ART, 451 & 465 St. Jean Street in Old Montreal, Metro stop: Square Victoria
Wednesday to Friday: Noon–7 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 11 am–6pm
Vauvert, 355 McGill Street
Photo Credits: DHC/Marc Quinn, Ceal Floyer’s “Overgrowth” (Courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York)