What's on at the MMFA in 2018

The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is a one-stop cultural hub in downtown Montréal. From historic exhibitions (like Napoléon) to contemporary art shows (like Nadia Myre) to educational activities, classical music concerts, lecture series, a beautiful museum shop and more, the MMFA has always got something going on. Here are the main exhibitions they’ve got in store for 2018.

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Until May 6, 2018

Want an eyeful? Head to this lavish exhibition, which invites visitors into the heart of the Imperial Household, from Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 to his exile in 1815. With an innovative design that includes mapping projections, Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace offers an exceptional panorama of 400 works and art objects, many of which are being exhibited in North America for the very first time.

Nadia Myre

Until May 27, 2018

Local artist Nadia Myre is a member of the Algonquin First Nation of Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg. In her intricate, collaborative works she revisits official history and the political and social struggles of Indigenous peoples, while juxtaposing her personal experience with that of others. This solo exhibition, Nadia Myre: Scattered Remains, is your chance to see 20 of the photographs, sculptures and more she produced over the last two decades.


Until August 5, 2018

Mnemosyne: When Contemporary Art and the Art of the Past Meet creates unexpected encounters between historic works on display in the new Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace and installations, sculptures, paintings and photographs by 14 contemporary artists from Quebec and Canada (including Edmund Alleyn, Rebecca Belmore, Karel Funk, Manon Labrecque, Marion Wagschal and the N.E. Thing Co. collective). Each contemporary work is freely associated with paintings by the likes of Dalí, Brueghel and Monet to create thought-provoking contrasts throughout the MMFA’s rich permanent collection.

From the Hands of the Masters II

From April 12 to August 12, 2018

The MMFA houses around 60 drawings belonging to the most significant private collection of ancient and modern drawings in Canada. From the Hands of the Masters II: From Parmigianino to Matisse, which is the second part of a presentation from 2013, covers everything from academic art to landscapes and still lives by a variety of international artists, including such masters as Parmigianino, Vasari, Delacroix, Ingres, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani and Degas.

From Africa to the Americas

From May 12 to September 16, 2018

Get ready to explore the complex question of “primitivism” in art history, starting with the well-known example of Picasso. Featuring some 200 works, From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present takes an anthropological approach combined with re-readings of cultural appropriations by contemporary artists, the majority of which are of African descent. The MMFA’s insightful and offbeat approach also points toward new perspectives on the question of modernity.

Here We Are Here

From May 12 to September 16, 2018

Coming straight to Montréal from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art brings together a dozen artists of African origin from Quebec and elsewhere in Canada with installations that explore questions of race and identity. In a series of multidisciplinary works that include a brand-new acquisition in the museum’s permanent collection, Self-portrait by Montréal’s own Manuel Mathieu, this study of “blackness” explores the deep-rooted histories of black cultures in Canada.


From August 28, 2018 to August 4, 2019

Dive into the MMFA’s permanent collection with Connections: Our Artistic Diversity Dialogues with Our Collections, an exhibition that unveils the installations of seven artists in anticipation for the 2019 opening of a new wing dedicated to world cultures. Echoing the Calder exhibition and following the installation of The Peony Knot (2015), a massive glass sculpture acquired in 2016 for the inauguration of the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, artist Jean-Michel Othoniel will return to Montréal to present his imposing metal Tornadoes.

A Resplendent World

From September 5, 2018, to January 6, 2019

A Resplendent World: Books of Hours from the 13th to 16th Centuries in Quebec is sure to introduce you to an overlooked heritage. Unbeknownst to most of us, Quebec has preserved a remarkable selection of intricately decorated religious manuscripts and illuminations. Created for lay people and popularized by the Christian faithful, books of hours were personalized and adorned with miniature paintings illustrating the life of Christ, the saints or the Virgin Mary. They incorporated a calendar of holy days, passages from the gospels and prayers. This exhibition includes over amazing 50 artifacts.

Alexander Calder

From September 22, 218, to February 17, 2019

American artist Alexander Calder redefined sculpture by introducing the element of movement to it, first through performances of mechanical works, later with independent motorized works, and, finally, with hanging mobiles that move with the wind. Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor profiles his inventive side, tracking the emergence of movement in his work over his rich career. Discover Calder’s playful, colourful universe by taking in the 100-plus works on display.

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.