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Public art committee stirs debate over moving Calder statue

calder.jpgAlexandre Taillefer made his money as a technology entrepreneur, but these days he spends much of his time working in the Montreal art scene.

Taillerfer was recently named president of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, and he's also the head of a committee on public art for the City of Montreal.

His stated goal is to create 10 pieces of public art in 10 years. He's just getting started, but his first pet project is causing a stir.

Taillerfer wants to move the massive sculpture "L'Homme" by Alexandre Calder from Ile Ste-Hélène to somewhere on the Island of Montreal where it can be seen by more people.

"It's really like having a fantastic Picasso or a fantastic Riopelle in your basement," says Taillefer. "It doesn't make sense."

Taillefer is backed by a committee of heavyweights including Nathalie Bondil of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,  Paulette Gagnon of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and Louise Déry Galerie de l'UQAM.  

Sculpture is "a kind of a guardian"

But not everyone is in favour of the plan to move "the man".

Nicholas Cournoyer is one of the founders of Picnik Electronik. The electronic music festival is held under the massive statue every Sunday in the summer.

Cournoyer says the sculpture inspired the founders of Piknic Electronik to start the event.

"If we lose the Calder, we are losing the spirit," says Cournoyer.   

He says it doesn't make any sense to move the sculpture, which was a gift to the city on the occasion of Expo 67, from it's "natural environment.

Cournoyer says the timing is off as well: 2017 will be the 15th anniversary of Piknic Electronik, the 50th anniversary of Expo 67 and the 375th anniversary of the City of Montreal.

YOUR SAY: Do you think the Calder sculpture should be moved? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Listen to Jeanette's interview with Alexandre Taillefer.

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Listen to Jeanette's interview with Nicholas Cournoyer.

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(PHOTO CREDIT: By Elisa Apap, courtesy of Piknic Electronik)