Sherbrooke St. will be an Open-Air Museum – Montreal 375th
The announcements for next year celebrations of the Montreal 375th anniversary and the 150 years of Canada have continued this week. This time the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in collaboration with the McCord Museum and the assistance from Concordia and McGill universities unveiled the details of a large-scale project for next year: La Balade de la Paix (The Stroll of Peace)/ An Open-Air Museum.
One of the iconic arteries in the city centre, Sherbrooke Street, will become a site for this Open-Air Museum, starting in front of the MMFA at the corner of Bishop St. and extending east for about a kilometre. It will feature 67 works bearing messages of peace. The number of works to be exhibited is also a reminder of another anniversary next year: the 50 years since Expo’67. The event will take place between May 29 and October 27, 2017.
The art route will feature sculptures and installations by 29 Canadian and foreign artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Cesar Baldaccini (César), Romero Betsabée, Jonathan Borofsky, Fernando Botero, Luben Boykov, Alexander Calder, Claude Cormier, Wim Delvoye, Jim Dine, Sorel Etrog, Ivan Eyre, Joe Fafard, Barry Flanagan, Rose-Marie Goulet, Keith Haring, Zhang Huan, Charles Joseph, Yayoi Kusama, Ju Ming, Robert Murray, Dennis Oppenheim, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Richard Prince, Ugo Rondinone, Wang Shugang, and Catherine Sylvain. There will also be 40 large-format photographs by Montreal artists, including Benoit Aquin, Darren Ell, Aydin Matlabi, Jean-François Lemire and Isabelle Hayeur.
The flags of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada, as well as about 200 flags of all the world’s countries, will fly over Sherbrooke St. since the theme of the exhibition is the aspiration for peace for the whole globe.
Speaking at the press conference held at the new Peace Pavilion of the MMFA, Émmanuel Dubourg, MP for Bourassa on behalf of Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, said that the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada would begin on the night of December 31, 2016. The events held throughout the country and during all 2017 will centre on four main themes: reconciliation with the Aboriginal peoples, protection of the environment, focus on youth, and the importance of diversity. “It will be a remarkable year,” Dubourg said, adding that the federal government will contribute 1.3 million to the Open-Air Museum project.
Nathalie Blondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA underlined the fact that “we rather build bridges than walls” and thanked the generosity of the lenders of the various works to be exhibited. She stressed the importance for this, since—unlike exhibitions in a museum—on this occasion, the works would be in a public place.
The former Supreme Court judge and active human rights advocate Louise Arbour who is the exhibition’s ambassador explained her involvement with the project reminding the audience that she always worked for peace, which she characterized as being “something more than just the absence of war.”
Mayor Denis Coderre for his part stated that “this unique installation will capture the best of what Montreal has to offer. It will allow viewers to look into the heart if Montreal and see what we’re known for all over the world: our harmonious diversity and the way we live together in the midst of a cultural hub and a city of learning.”
Finally, Gilbert Rozon, Commissioner for Celebrations for Montreal’s 375th anniversary made reference to the character of Canada and Montreal, in light of the two emblematic anniversaries. He indicated that this project would fit quite well with Montrealers, “people who love museums and love the street, it’s the right combination.”
For detailed information on the various events planned for next year’s Montreal anniversary go to www.375mtl.com
By Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca