Where to buy affordable contemporary art
With contributions by Richard Burnett
You may never have considered becoming an art collector but think about it: instead of those IKEA posters on your wall, you could have original art you love that will only increase in value over time. And you won’t need to mortgage your house! There are loads of affordable art available in Montréal, for anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred.
This small-press fair that occurs every fall in the basement of St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End church, at Saint-Dominique and Saint-Joseph, is a choice spot for limited-edition prints, postcards or posters that look awesome in a frame. They’ll set you back no more than $100, and they might just be by the next Basquiat.
Amid jewellery, cupcakes and apothecary products are tons of original artworks in all forms at this arts and crafts marketplace initiated in 2004 by the POP Montréal festival. It takes place three times a year: in the spring, in the fall during the music fest, and throughout the winter holiday season.
This Mile End mainstay is both a junk shop extraordinaire and an art gallery dedicated to representing interesting, often undiscovered (and therefore affordable) artists. Prices here range from $75 to a couple of hundred, usually, and the owners/curators have a fantastic eye, so what you see here is bound to be quality.
You never know what you’ll chance upon at this gallery on the Main, and that’s what great about it! Artists rent it out themselves, which means there’s no curatorial vision limiting its wares. I saw mind-blowing prints here by Simon Bossé, as well as some crazy intricate drawings by Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo.
Founded in 2008, this contemporary urban art gallery started as a silkscreen print shop that began working with local artists and developing fine-art prints. Station 16 now features an international roster of artists primarily influenced by street art and graffiti, such as Montréal’s acclaimed Kevin Ledo, and is also the official gallery of the MURAL Festival. (Richard Burnett)
This large gallery, just steps away from the Palais des congrès, gives you a helping hand in figuring out if the works on display will look good in your living room by setting the mood with fireplaces and modernist couches. Many Québécois artists such as Dominic Besner are among its international roster. Prices go high, but start low.
This three-storey art hub in Rosemont represents a range of artists, from newcomers on the scene to established masters. The best time to check it out for a first purchase is at the end of spring/early summer, when the second floor is dedicated to new graduates from university art programs. Get them while they’re green, and your investment might turn gold!
Founded by Juno Youn, Galerie Youn has been a mainstay on Boulevard Saint-Laurent in Mile End since 2013. The gallery presents solo and group exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing local, national and international emerging to mid-career contemporary artists. While prices are not low, Galerie Youn is a popular destination for contemporary art lovers. (Richard Burnett)
This vast gallery on upper Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in Little Italy, sells art by internationally-renowned street artists alongside more affordable finds created locally, which range in the few hundreds and up. But they’re worth it.
PLUS: If you’re new at art, a wonderful place to begin is in your favourite haunts. Montréal bars, eateries and coffee shops like Casa del Popolo, Coop le Cagibi and Le Cheval Blanc all have a rotating selection of art for sale exhibited on their walls. You’ll make a local artist’s day and have a piece to cherish for years to come.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an arts and lifestyle writer based out of Parc Ex. When she isn't dragging her one-eyed pug around the neighbourhood, she's busy scoping out art shows, shopping for vintage finds, hiking urban trails or designing jewelry for her brand Gré.
Richard Burnett, blogger
Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.