MAC in talks to bring Leonard Cohen exhibition to international audiences

Following a record-breaking run that attracted almost 300,000 visitors, Montreal's Musée d'art contemporain (MAC) is negotiating an international tour for its Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything exhibition.

Montreal museum is negotiating with institutions in NYC, Prague, Mexico City and elsewhere

Almost three years in the making, the MAC's Leonard Cohen exhibition closes in Montreal April 12. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

After a record-breaking run that attracted almost 300,000 visitors, Montreal's Musée d'art contemporain (MAC) is in negotiations to take its Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything exhibition on an international tour.

"The Cohen experience continues," said MAC director and chief curator John Zeppetelli. 

The museum is in regular talks with an institution in Manhattan, as well as others in San Francisco, Copenhagen, Prague and Mexico City.

Zeppetelli said hosting the exhibition in Manhattan will not only bring it to people who live in New York City, but it would help showcase its value to audiences around the world.

American photographer Taryn Simon's contribution to the exhibition shows page 1 of the New York Times on the day Cohen's death was announced. (CBC)

"It'll be incredibly important to show this in New York, which is a huge musical centre, cultural centre [and] Jewish centre, as well," Zeppetelli said.

New York City also played a key part in Cohen's rise as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, when he lived there and befriended prominent members of the city's music scene.

First we take Manhattan

One of the challenges of touring the expansive show, however, is finding institutions that can accommodate it.

"Even big museums couldn't take the totality of the show which here occupies six large rooms," Zeppetelli said.

One of the larger works features the choir from Cohen's family synagogue, Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. (CBC)

The exhibition has been extended at the MAC until April 12, with longer opening hours so more Montrealers can see it — or see it again one last time.

The multimedia exhibition takes up 6 rooms at the MAC, making space a consideration for other museums that may wish to host it. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, a friend of Cohen's since she interviewed him for CBC in the 1960s, said the fact that she doesn't live near the exhibition is the only thing that stopped her from seeing it regularly.

"If I lived in Montreal, I would be there every day," Clarkson said Friday at a symposium on Cohen.

"I think Leonard thanks you," she told Zeppetelli, who had already poured three years of work into the exhibition when it opened last November.

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson spoke about Cohen at the Max and Iris Stern International Symposium Friday in Montreal. (Elysha Enos/CBC)