What's up this year at the MAC

Isa Tousignant

There’s never a dull moment at Montréal’s contemporary art museum, as you can tell by their activities calendar! Aside from weekly programs for kids, exhibition tours, lecture series, private parties and the recurring Nocturnes nights (where the MAC turns into a giant band night, full of live music, drinks, revelry and art), they’ve got a killer program of exhibitions on deck for 2018.

Discover more with our partners

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything

Until March 25, 2018

Part of the official program for Montréal’s 375th anniversary, Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything unites 20 works by 40 artists from 10 countries, all inspired by the world and life of Leonard Cohen. Conceived as a posthumous homage to the Montréal musical legend, the exhibition combines visual art, virtual reality, installations, performances, music and writing, including innovative environments where Cohen’s songs will be covered and performed, as well as a survey of his archival material. Six galleries are devoted to the critical celebration, loving tribute and, a year after his passing, quiet commemoration of a vast artistic achievement and inspiring life.

And a bonus: When Even The by Clara Furey is a cycle of choreographed performances inspired by the Leonard Cohen’s poem of the same name. In this 90-minute work, performed for 90 days, Furey engages in an existential reflection on memory, time an death—all major themes in Cohen’s work. Find the performance schedule here.

The Gaze Listens

Until March 25, 2018

Made up of works in the MAC’s vast permanent collection, The Gaze Listens unites works that despite being invisible to the ear, are audible to the eye. It showcases pieces by Yves Gaucher, Pascal Grandmaison, Barbara Steinman and Takis that attach obvious importance to the implications of the verb “listen.” We’re talking about an approach to the material work that plays with ideas of presence, magnetism, rhythm and communication—a fascinating way to revisit iconic works in Canadian art history.

That’s How the Light Gets In

Until March 25, 2018

That’s How the Light Gets In is a poetic counterpart to The Gaze Listens. The premise is this: Without light, there is no visibility. Light therefore lies at the core of artists’ practices and techniques. While light in classical painting was mimetic and metaphorical, in contemporary art it’s become an autonomous medium it itself, that shapes and alters the materials it touches, strikes or penetrates. An object of both reflection and representation, light is a meaningful tool in the practice of some of Québec and Canada’s greatest artists, including Marie-Claire Blais, Pierre Dorion, Stéphane La Rue, Rita Letendre, Elizabeth McIntosh, Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, Claude Tousignant and Janet Werner.

Alone Together

May 16 to August 26, 2018

Four Canadian artists belonging to the same generation are brought together for this exhibition, around a simple yet complex phrase: Alone Together. How does solitude express itself in an era of unparalleled connectivity? Sarah Anne Johnson, Graeme Patterson, Jon Rafman and Jeremy Shaw gather together (but apart) for this fascinating exhibition uniting—and contrasting—music, video, interactivity, isolation, and, yes, even a touch of mystical rapture. Each in their own way, the artists reflect on the paradoxes of our society and the concept of community.

Raphael Lozamo-Hemmer: Unstable Presence

April 25 to September 9, 2018

The MAC welcomes back one of Montréal’s most popular, internationally known creators: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is known for large-scale, participatory installations that often incorporate technology, light and the architecture of public spaces. Unstable Presence offers a new conceptual perspective on the artist’s work over the past decade, exploring its poetic and political dimensions from the standpoint of one of its central principles: the notion of co-presence, i.e. the coexistence of voices, perspectives and experiences. Get ready for a body-and-soul immersion into some of Lozano-Hemmer’s most affecting “anti-monuments.”

Julian Rosefeldt

October 18 to January 20, 2019

German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto is a immersive video installation on 13 screens that has been acclaimed everywhere it has travelled in the world. This is its first time in Montréal, giving all of us a chance to experience the work featuring actress Cate Blanchett in 13 synchronized roles: schoolteacher, homeless man, factory worker, puppeteer, scientist and more. All of the monologues spoken—actually, the only words spoken in the piece—are formed out of various artists’ manifestos published over the last 150 years or so. The result is a fascinating installation that reveals both the performative component and the political significance of these declarations.

Françoise Sullivan

October 18 to January 20, 2019

Quebec legend Françoise Sullivan is a key figure in the history of modern and contemporary art in this country. This retrospective exhibition is a chance for you to discover or rediscover this unsung hero and her impressive body of work, with in-depth explorations of some of the milestones in her career. Sullivan’s various styles and approaches over the years are contextualized with the help of archival documents. As an interesting parallel with Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto, this exhibition coincides with the 70th anniversary of the publication of Refus Global, a ground-breaking art manifesto in Québec, of which Sullivan was a signatory.

Isa Tousignant

Isa Tousignant, blogger

Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.