Montréal museum exhibitions in fall and winter

Ancient Egyptian mummies, Inca treasures and the prêt-à-porter of Canadian fashion designer Jean-Claude Poitras are among the many must-see exhibitions at Montréal museums this fall and winter 2019.

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The sands of time

The travelling British Museum exhibition Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives makes its North American premiere at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. Combining art and cutting-edge technology with more than 200 items from the British Museum’s renowned Egyptian collection, this exhibition reconstructs the lives of six Egyptians who lived along the Nile from about 900 BC to AD 180.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives runs from September 14 to February 2, 2020.

Rembrandt to Mapplethorpe

The MMFA exhibition Identities: Artworks from the Bailey Collection draws from the extraordinary art collection of renowned Ontario art collector and patron W. Bruce C. Bailey. The exhibition displays paintings, photographs, sculptures and works on paper from different time periods and cultures by such artists as Francisco José de Goya, Rembrandt, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe and Kent Monkman.

Identities: Artworks from the Bailey Collection runs from December 4 to March 2020.

Splendour of the Incas

Discover one of the world’s great and mysterious civilizations in the blockbuster The Incas, Treasures of Peru exhibition at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex. While their domination lasted less than a century (from 1450 to 1532), the Incas built one of the most spectacular empires the world has known, spreading from Ecuador to Peru, Bolivia and half of present-day Chile. This exhibition explores the world of the Incas and Andean culture – mainly that of Peru – from prehistory to the contemporary era and features nearly 300 pieces, including eye-popping gold and silver work, ornaments, jewelry, vases, clothing, funerary masks and ritual objects.

The Incas, Treasures of Peru runs from November 27 to April 13, 2020.

Montréal prêt-à-porter

Legendary Montréal fashion designer Jean-Claude Poitras – who left his mark on prêt-à-porter over the course of a prolific career that began in 1972 – gets the career retrospective treatment in the Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and Inspiration exhibition at the McCord Museum, which runs from October 24 to April 26, 2020.

Diversity at the MAC

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal’s fall program showcases a diverse group of world-renowned contemporary artists, notably Belgian artist Francis Alÿs and master Canadian painter Janet Werner.

Francis Alÿs shows how children turn simple, ordinary things — coins, stones, plastic bottles and so on — into the raw material for unlikely and fantastical universes in his project Francis Alÿs: Children’s Games, which runs from September 4 to January 5, 2020.

A major figure in Canadian painting who has played a prominent role in updating the portrait genre, Montréal painter Janet Werner takes centre stage in the MAC’s eponymously titled Werner exhibition, a compact survey of the last decade of the artist’s work, which runs from October 31 to January 5, 2020.

Architecture of the Cold War

The Canadian Centre for Architecture is not just an architectural jewel in the heart of downtown Montréal, but a world-renowned museum of architecture and international research institution that believes “architecture is a public concern.”

The new CCA exhibition Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture explores the paradoxical bilateral relationship between Russia and the United States during the 20th century when Soviet history was “shaped by a set of idealized representations of the politics, technology, territorial developments, architecture and visual culture of America.”

The exhibition rewrites “the history of Russian architecture and urban design in light of this enduring amerikanizm by analyzing, among others, high-rise buildings, including of the late Stalinist era, factories and industrial infrastructure, and Cold War product design. The narrative is underlined by an expanded definition of architecture and culture that encompasses industrial and graphic design, music, photography, film, and literature.”

Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture runs from November 13 to April 5, 2020.

Nocturnal worlds

The Stewart Museum’s new Nights exhibition takes visitors into four night worlds via original stories by four well-known Québec writers: Heather O’Neill, Simon Boulerice, Dominique Demers and Éric Dupont. Guided by a booklet and listening stations, visitors explore Dupont’s starry night, face the fear of the dark with Demers, experience a city night with O’Neill and slip into a night of passion with Boulerice. Their stories are brought to life in theatrical sets alongside artefacts from the Stewart and McCord museum collections.

The Nights exhibition opens on September 26 and continues through March 2020.

Priceless Haida art

The McCord Museum showcases Haida art in its critically hailed SDING K’AWXANGS – Haida: Supernatural Stories exhibition. With more than 100 rare objects—most of them from the museum’s rich Indigenous Cultures collection—as well as works by contemporary artists, the exhibition immerses visitors in the Haida culture of yesterday and today, as they discover the beauty and priceless treasures of a culture that was almost wiped out in the late 19th century. The exhibition also features works by Bill Reid, one of the best known and most celebrated Haida artists.

SDING K’AXWANGS – Haida: Supernatural Stories runs until October 27.

World Press Photo

Often dubbed the Oscars of photojournalism, World Press Photo is the most prestigious press photography contest on the planet. In 2019, the prizewinning images are divided into eight categories: Spot News, General News, Contemporary Issues, People, Environment, Nature, Sports and Long-Term Projects. These images are on display in the international WPP touring exhibition at Bonsecours Market in Old Montréal until September 29.

Richard Burnett

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.

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