The art of diversity - 2022 MMFA program

Richard Burnett

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.

The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts presents five monographic exhibitions in 2022, devoted to 20th century icons Diane Arbus and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as leading artists on the current art scene – Shary Boyle, Nicolas Party and Adam Pendleton – in a strong thematic program that highlights diversity and current social issues. The 2022 MMFA program also explores how art and music are deeply entwined, not just in the work of Basquiat, but in an ambitious thematic exhibition that explores the place and influence of music in Inuit visual art

What’s new in 2022 

Named after the iconic painting Mauve Twilight by Canadian Symbolist Ozias Leduc, found in the MMFA’s collection, the exhibition Nicolas Party: L’heure mauve (February 12 to October 16) displays the full artistic range of rising star Nicolas Party in his first solo exhibition in Canada. Via some 100 works and a series of monumental frescos realized in situ, the Swiss-born artist unveils a dreamlike exhibition themed on nature. 

In another Canadian premiere, the MMFA presents the work of New York-based artist Adam Pendleton with the exhibition Adam Pendleton: These Things We’ve Done Together (March 15 to July 10) which includes four new monumental paintings from his iconic series Untitled (WE ARE NOT). 

Canadian artist Shary Boyle is known for her porcelain figurine sculptures from her often strange and disturbing world. In the multi-sensory project Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me (August 31 to January 15, 2023), the visual artist explores the creative nature of identity and personality in an age where social media has become a stage for self-presentation. 

From her intimate explorations of the streets of New York to her large-format portraits, some 90 images – including gelatin silver prints – in the Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956-1971 exhibition (September 14 to January 29, 2023) bear witness to the singular revolutionary vision of the celebrated American photographer. 

The multi-media exhibition Music and the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat (October 16 to February 19, 2023) is an innovative in-depth look at the iconic artist’s career as a musician, presenting nearly 200 works (paintings and drawings) together with numerous sound clips, film footage and archival documents, immersing visitors in the New York of the 1970s and 1980s where Basquiat lived as an artist, music lover and musician, when he elevated street art to the status of fine art. 

Completing the bountiful offerings at the MMFA in 2022 is the Music Born of the Cold: Inuit Art, Dance and Song exhibition (November 9 to March 13, 2023) which explores the place of music in Inuit visual art and showcases some 100 Inuit sculptures, prints, drawings and installations by renowned artists that illustrate Inuit musical expression in all of its forms.  

Throughout the coming year, numerous talks, artistic performances and educational activities for all audiences will round out the MMFA program. 

Continuing exhibitions

The acclaimed exhibition The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence documents the life and work of one of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century (runs to January 30). The exhibition features renowned images of political figures, including Fidel Castro and Winston Churchill, plus portraits of such cultural icons as Ernest Hemingway, Ingrid Bergman and Muhammed Ali.  

The exhibition “How long does it take for one voice to reach another?” showcases major works from the MMFA collection, new acquisitions and important loans exploring the theme of voice in both its physical and metaphorical registers (runs to February 13). 

The Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet exhibition explores the relationship between humans and nature, and disruptions to the planet’s ecosystems caused by human intervention (runs to April 3). 

Safety measures and how to buy tickets

While a COVID-19 passport is not required to visit the MMFA, wearing a face mask indoors is mandatory. Numerous measures have been put in place at the MMFA to ensure the safety of visitors and employees. 

Visitors must absolutely book their tickets online and select the date and time of their visit. Tickets are date-time stamped to control the flow of visitors. This rule ensures public safety and allows visitors a more intimate exploration of the exhibitions. 

The museum boutique and bookstore are open, however the restaurant and bistro are NOT open.  

For more details about the current COVID situation in Montréal, click here. 

Richard Burnett

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.

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