Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Volte-Face extrait de l'exposition, oeuvre de Cindy Sherman


Metropolitan Region

By popular demand, the Montréal Museum of fine Arts (MMFA) is extending the run of the exhibition Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives until March 29, 2020. Already seen by over 100,000 visitors, this major exhibition offers a completely new picture of the everyday life of six individuals who lived along the Nile between 900 B.C.E. and 180 C.E. using an innovative approach that combines the arts and science. Making its North American premiere at the MMFA, the exhibition presents six mummies together with 240 artifacts from ancient Egypt from the collection of the British Museum. Non-invasive medical imaging techniques made it possible to shed new light on different aspects of the life – and death – of these six ancient Egyptians. Until March 29, 2020.

The MMFA is opening its doors to a selection of artworks from the remarkable art collection of Ontario philanthropist, collector and patron W.Bruce C.Bailey. The exhibition For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you brings together a selection of over 100 paintings, photographs, works on paper, and sculptures spanning vastly different time periods and cultures, drawn from his extraordinary collection. These works encourage visitors to consider how art can reflect a unique sensibility and simultaneously unearth shared commonalities, inviting us to better understand differences. Contemporary Art Square, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, until March 29, 2020.

The MMFA also presents About Face: Photographs by Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons and Rachel Harrison. This exhibition brings together the work of three major American artists whose practice is deeply engaged with the history of representation of women. Presented artworks are drawn from the collection of Carol and David Appel, prominent collectors of international contemporary art in Canada. Graphic Arts Centre, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, until March 29, 2020.

The Montreal Museum of Fine-Arts will transport you to 19th and 20th century Paris in the company of the great Post-Impressionist masters with the exhibition Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism: Signac and the Indépendants. Paris, 1900: a revolution was underway during the Belle Époque. “Art for all!” declared artists who exhibited under the motto “no jury, no awards.” Cofounder of the Salon des Indépendants, Paul Signac made a name for himself as the theoretician of the so-called “postimpressionist scientists.” Discover a magnificent body of 500 paintings and graphic works from an exceptional private collection to be exhibited in its entirety for the first time – the largest collection of works by Paul Signac, but also of avant-garde: Impressionists (Monet and Morisot), Fauves (Dufy, Friesz and Marquet), Symbolists (Gauguin, Mucha and Redon), Nabis (Bonnard, Denis, Lacombe, Sérusier, Ranson and Vallotton), Neo-Impressionists (Cross, Guillaumin, Luce, Pissarro, Seurat and Van Rysselberghe) and observers of life in Paris (Anquetin, Degas, Lautrec, Picasso and Steinlen). From March 28 to September 27, 2020.

Currently presented at Musée Pointe-à-Callière, the exhibition entitled The Incas, Treasures of Peru! gives Montréal museumgoers a taste of one of the richest legacies of craftsmanship the world has ever seen. A North American exclusive, the exhibition takes visitors on a stunning journey deep into Andean and Peruvian cultures to reveal the secrets of the Inca Empire, its power, its mysterious rituals and customs, and, above all, its remarkable artistic achievements. Until April 13, 2020.

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) continues to grow its international reputation through three remarkable travelling exhibitions. Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything, one of the most popular international travelling exhibitions in MAC’s history begins the second leg of its international tour today in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the exhibition will be presented until April 13, 2020 at the Kunstforeningen GL STRAND and Nikolaj Kunsthal Art center. Meanwhile, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Unstable Presence, coproduced with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), may be viewed until March 1, 2020 at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico. The tour’s next stop will be at the SFMOMA, from April 25 to November 1, 2020. Also, the Françoise Sullivan retrospective continues its Canadian tour at the Art Gallery in Windsor, from February 14 to May 10, 2020, and then at the Musée régional de Rimouski from October 18, 2020 to January 31, 2021.


Winter 2020

By popular demand, the Montréal Museum of fine Arts (MMFA) is extending…


Following its tremendous success in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the exhibition Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives will continue its world tour at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, making its North American premiere. The British Museum production reconstructs the lives of six individuals who lived along the Nile from about 900 BC to AD 180. Using an innovative approach combining art and cutting- edge technology, it paints a picture of who these people were. The Montreal presentation of Egyptian Mummies will reveal the many facets of these diverse individuals: a young man, two priestess singers, a priest, a little boy and a homemaker. Together with 3D digital images, interactive visual display units and more than 200 items from the British Museum’s renowned Egyptian collection, these encounters will offer a unique view of the way in which people lived and died in this period of history. September 14, 2019 to February 2, 2020.

At the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) – Facing the Monumental from Canadian artist Rebecca Belmore is the largest exhibition of her work to date and a major overview of the past 30 years. The rich body of work presented will include sculptures, installations, photography and videos, some of which are based on performances. One of Canada’s most celebrated and important contemporary artists, with boundless beauty, sensitivity and resilience, her work explores our problematic relationships with territory, women’s lives, historic events and ongoing violence against Indigenous peoples.  June 20 to October 6, 2019.

MAC collection : Nadia Myre, Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau – In keeping with Rebecca Belmore’s exhibition, the MAC will present works from its collection and new acquisitions, including pieces by Nadia Myre, that express something profoundly human as they tackle topics of desire, loss, resilience and knowledge. Based on themes such as Indigenous identity, Meditations on Red, is a series of photographs depicting meticulous beadwork. The theme of performativity can be seen through a completely different lens in the work of Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau. Two installations: one a sculpture, The Face Stayed East The Mouth Went West, and the other a video installation, What Do Stones Smell Like in the Forest? will be positioned in mutual dialogue. Until August 4, 2019.

Focusing on the theme The Life of Things, the MAC and MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image unite to present Children’s Games, 1999-2018, by Francis Alÿs. The Children’s Games series is a collection of scenes of children at play around the world. Ongoing since 1999 and now comprising nearly twenty videos, this inventory of childhood activities shows how children turn simple, ordinary things – chairs, coins, sand, stones, plastic bottles – into the foundation of unlikely and fantastical universes.  From September 4, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

The McCord museum invites the public on the Haida Gwaii Islands, off the northwest coast of Canada, with its last exhibition entitled Sding K’awXangs – Haida: Supernatural Stories. The exhibition, featuring a remarkable selection of rare historical Haida art objects from the Museum’s collections, reveals a slice of this people’s rich heritage. The Haida created a world of exceptional artistic expression, a world that enabled them to leave their mark on history, despite their virtual disappearance in the late 19th  century. Most of the magnificent objects were collected by George Mercer Dawson, a Montrealer by adoption. The exhibition also features works by contemporary Haida artists. The exhibition sheds light on the different facets of the Haida culture, including the language of their art, the potlatch and spirituality, in parallel with the supernatural stories that inhabit and animate the objects. Until October 27, 2019.


Summer 2019

Following its tremendous success in Australia…


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is running Masters II: From Parmigianino to Matisse from April 10, to August 12, 2018. The exhibition consists of 55 drawings executed between the 16th to 20th centuries and thy come from what the museum calls “Canada’s most important private collection.” Alongside the 55 drawings the museum will be showing an additional 20 other drawings donated to the museum by the anonymous collector.

Works on paper by François Boucher, Agostino and Annibale Carracci, Giovanni Bendetto, Castiglione, Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Juan Gris, Katsushika Hokusai, Victor Hugo, Henri Matisse, Jean-François Millet, Amedeo Modigliani, Gustave Moreau, Berthe Morisot, Parmigianino, Camille Pisarro, Giorgi Vasari, James McNeil Whistler and Antoine Watteau will all be on display.

If you, like me, were surprised to see novelist Victor Hugo included in the list the work by Hugo is one of those black cut-out silhouettes the Victorians were fond of making. Curious, to say the least.

The subject matter ranges from the religious to the venal, from landscape to Japanese warriors and contains work in a variety of different schools including cubism and impressionism. If you like drawing or consider it the basis of art, this may very well be the show for you.


Summer 2018

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is running…


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.

Fall 2017

Once Upon A Time… The Western A New Frontier in Art and Film, is running


The museum’s flagship show this summer is another one of those pop culture wingdingers, Revolution: “You Say You Want A Revolution,” running from June 17th to October 8th 2017. The exhibition takes a look at the 1960s in all its various shapes and sounds from music, fashion film, design and activism: From swinging London to the Black Panthers and of course drugs and Woodstock.

The show consists of more than 350 items ranging from clothes, posters, albums, photographs and numerous archival documents. It comes equipped with high fidelity headphones so that museum goers can hear the different sounds of the 60s as they move from gallery to gallery. Originally created at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is using it to celebrate Expo 67.

Summer 2017

The museum’s flagship show this summer is another one of those pop culture wingdingers…


It may be the 150th anniversary of Confederation but it also happens to be the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal and the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 and to celebrate it all the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has turned the one kilometre distance between the museum on Sherbrooke and McGill University into an open air museum which it has named La Balade pour La Paix , which will run for five months from June 5th to October 29th, 2017.

The art work decorating Sherbrooke St. consists of some 200 national flags, including the flags of Canada at Confederation, the provinces and the territories. As well, on display will be 29 sculptures and installations from international and Canadian artists including Joe Fafard, Fernando Botero and Alexander Calder. Some 40 large scale photographs will also be displayed en route. There will also be 67 works bearing messages of peace and humanism. The whole thing has been designed to make you feel as if you were engaged in a 1960s peace march.

Having said all this, the standout piece for me will be the 63 foot, more or less, totem pole carved by Kwakiutl artist Charles Joseph to pay homage to the Mohawks of Kanewake, on whose ancestral land the City of Montreal perches. The work’s title is Residential School Totem Pole and the work is dedicated to all the indigenous children who between 1820 and 1996 were torn from their parents, taken to schools run by religious orders and told they could never speak their native language again. It is a symbol of reconciliation and commemoration and is completely beautiful.

Summer 2017

It may be the 150th anniversary of Confederation but it also happens to be the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal and the 50th anniversary of Expo 67…


Chagall Colour and Music will be running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from January 28-June 11, 2017. Chagall is one of the most important popular modern artists and although he flirted with Cubism, Fauvism, Suprematism and Surrealism he always in the end returned to representational and narrative art.

As the name suggests the exhibition takes a look at how music influenced Chagall’s work. Music played an important role in Chagall’s life as an artist. He designed the sets for operas The Magic Flute and Daphnis and Chloe as well as the ballets Aleko and The Firebird.

It also played a large part in his painted work. The exhibition consists of 400 works including paintings, sculptures, maquettes, gouaches, stained glass windows, photographs, films, costumes and puppets. Many of these objects have not been seen by the general public.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Focus: Perfection—Robert Mapplethorpe running through to January 22, 2017. Mapplethorpe is regarded as one of the world’s best photographers, an edgy creator of homoerotic images, celebrity photographer as well as working in a classical vein and creating incredibly beautiful images of flowers. His works are powerful and should be seen.

The exhibition consists of some 250 works including nudes, still lifes, celebrity portraits in arresting black and white and his first efforts with Polaroids, sculpture and jewellery. It is the largest retrospective of his work since 1989.

Winter 2017

Chagall Colour and Music will be running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from January 28-June 11, 2017. Chagall is one of the most important popular modern artists…


Photography lovers are in for a special treat as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Focus: Perfection Robert Mapplethorpe, running from September 10, 2016 through to January 22, 2017. The exhibition consists of some 250 works largely made up of black and white prints although there is also some colour photography designed to trace his working methods from his early days in the late 1960s up to his death in 1989.

The works on display provide new context for understanding the key genres Mapplethorpe worked in: portraiture of friends and celebrities including Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Isabella Rossellini and Deborah Harry, self-portraits nudes and still lifes.

For those with a taste for the macabre and grotesque the MMFA is also running The Black Sun of Melancholy until December 11, 2016. The exhibition features work by William Blake, Rodolphe Bresdin, Eugene Delacroix, James Ensor, Paul Gauguin, Francisco Goya, Victor Hugo, Max Klinger, Hans Makart, John Martin, Charles Meryon, Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon, Felicien Rops, James Rissot and Félix Vallotton as they explored the dark side of the human psyche.

Fall 2016

Photography lovers are in for a special treat as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents Focus: Perfection Robert Maplethorpe, running from September 10, 2016 through to January 22, 2017…


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has mounted one of those shows that can probably best be described as once in a lifetime. Running from February 6 September 5, 2016 Pompeii, is a magnificent exhibition on the city that was laid to rest by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The show consists of more than 220 of the best preserved works from the National Archeological Museum in Naples. The show is designed to provide a look at the public, private and intimate realms of Roman citizens when Vesuvius preserved the city and those citizens who remained under a blanket of ash. It is a portrait of ancient life frozen in time.

The show features frescoes, mosaics and statues in bronze, terra cotta and marble, luxurious accessories, silverware, everyday utensils, religious paraphernalia and an exquisite selection of erotica from the Secret Cabinet of the National Archeological Museum in Naples. The exhibition is accompanied by historically accurate music.

Summer 2016

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has mounted one of those shows that can probably best be described…


Karel Funk, from June 11 through to October 2, 2016 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The gallery is presenting the work of hometown artist Karel Funk, a Canadian artist who stands poised to breakout into international art scene stardom. Although some aspects of his work appear to carry forward Alex Colville’s mantel Funk is a hyperrealist mining a very Canadian vein.

Funk’s recent work focuses on single isolated figures wearing high performance outerwear against a white backdrop. Over the years the figures themselves have slowly disappeared. Funk’s work is held in major institutions including the National Gallery of CanadaWhitney Museum of American Art, Art Gallery of Ontario, Solomon R. Guggenheim and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Summer 2016

Karel Funk, June 11- October 2, 2016 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery…


From here to ear v.19, running until March 27th at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It consists of more than 70 Zebra finches, 10 Gibson Les Pauls, 4 Gibson Thunderbirds, 7 cymbals and 4 amps, all sequestered inside a giant aviary. These are top of the line electric guitars and the Thunderbirds are electric bass guitars.

The guitars are mounted on stands so that the front of the guitar is level with the volume and tone controls, strings and playing surface providing a flat surface for the finches to perch on. The finches have a penchant for perching on the strings and every now and then jump up and down on them. The guitars are in blues and power chord open tunings so that when a bird lands on them they produce a chord.

And now for the piece de resistance, in this work of art the viewer becomes the audience for the sounds being produced, the viewer of more than 70 small colourful birds in sometime motion and active participant in creating those sounds. This is the 19th time that French artist Celeste Boursier-Mougenot’s  from here to ear has been mounted and it is the largest version to date. Anyone who likes John Cage is bound to like this.


From here to ear v.19, running until March 27th at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. It consists of more than 70 Zebra finches, 10 Gibson Les Pauls, 4 Gibson Thunderbirds…


From May 30 until October 18, 2015 the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio. The show is the largest Rodin exhibition to be assembled at close to 300 pieces and includes works that have not been seen before in North America.

The exhibition explores how Rodin worked with first his materials and then with his models and casters while being documented by writers and photographers at the same time.

Summer 2015

From May 30 until October 18, 2015 the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio…


As the art world moved from representational to abstract, no small part of the intellectual motivation for this development came from the realization that colour provided a much larger design element than previously thought.

This can be vividly seen in Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin Constant in his time which runs at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from January 31, 2015 to May 31, 2015.

Benjamin Constant lived from 1845 to 1902 and was well known and successful in his time. His work was influenced by the Moorish palaces of Spain and Morocco. His ability as a colourist is remarkable and it is to that use of rich colours that I have alluded to above.

Winter 2015


As the art world moved from representational to abstract, no small part of the intellectual motivation for this development came from the realization that colour provided a much…


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a number of exhibitions which prove to be interesting coming up over the Fall. Here are two of them. From Van Gogh to Kandinsky: From Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914, promises to be a landmark exhibition. To begin with there is the sheer size of it all. There are 90 paintings and 45 works on paper backed up by 200 pieces of documentary evidence, photographs, stereographic images and magazines that focus on Paris.

The exhibition is made up of work by Post-Impressionist, Fauvist and Cubist paintings by more than 40 artists including Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Robert Delaunay and Paul Signac that the Expressionists, Wassily Kandinsky, Kirchner, Munter and Franz Marc, for example were able to see in German exhibitions and on their travels in Paris For the first time in a major museum exhibition, Expressionism, which is usually regarded as a German art movement, is presented as an international movement in which artists responded with various different approaches to the work done by the likes of Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin.

From November 5, 2014 to March 15, 2015 the MMFA will be showing Warhol Mania , which consists of some 50 advertising posters and almost a thousand magazine illustrations.

Autumn 2014

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a number of exhibitions which prove to be interesting coming up over the Fall. Here are two of them. From Van Gogh to Kandinsky…


There is something just a little special on at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this winter season. Splendore A Venezia Art and Music from the Renaissance to Baroque in the Serenissima will be running until January 19, 2014. As you might imagine this is a mixed media exhibition or as cultural cognoscenti might say an innovative multidisciplinary exhibition focusing the eye and the ear on the Venetian Republic in its heyday.

The exhibition spans time from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries and consists on the visual side of 120 works of art, paintings, prints and drawings by the likes of Titian, Tintoretto, Bassano, Giovani Battista, Tiepolo and Canaletto among others as well as period musical instruments. And as for the musical side of the brain, a free audioguide is available that will play music by the likes of Vivaldi or Albinoni that directly relate to either the painting or musical instrument being looked at. As well, as series of matching concerts has been arranged for the museum’s Salle Bourgie.

Winter 2014

There is something just a little special on at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this winter season…