Once Upon A Time… The Western A New Frontier in Art and Film, is running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from October 14th to February 4th, 2018. At last, a thematic exhibition that I can get behind.
Once Upon A Time is a multidisciplinary exhibition that takes a new look at the Western film genre by examining its links to painting, sculpture and photography from the middle of the 19th century to today. The show studies the creation, transmission and transformation of Western myth in both Canada and the United States.
The exhibition uses over 400 paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, artefacts, film stills and excerpts to examine the ongoing dialogue between fine art and cinema.
While the exhibition features some of the great names in western painting it also contains work by First Nations artists like Kent Monkman, Wendy Red Star and Brad Kaldhamer, as they subvert the accepted narrative and try to win back their history with their perspective.
As you would imagine the exhibition is also rife with the work of modern film directors, such as Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee and the Coen brothers. The show also takes a close look at how the publication of dime novels on western themes and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show influenced the development of the western mythos.