Montreal

First he takes Manhattan: MAC's Leonard Cohen exhibition gets international tour

Montreal's Musée d'art contemporain (MAC) has officially announced the international tour of its blockbuster Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything exhibition, which kicks off in New York City in the spring.

NYC, Copenhagen, San Francisco confirmed for tour that will last until at least 2021

The MAC's Leonard Cohen exhibition was almost three years in the making and features primarily commissioned works that engage with Cohen's legacy. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

Montreal's Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) has officially announced the international tour of its blockbuster Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything exhibition, which kicks off in New York City in the spring.

The Jewish Museum, on New York City's Museum Mile, will be the first stop on the exhibition's international tour beginning in April.

"I greatly admire Leonard Cohen's use of language and acute observations on the human condition," said Claudia Gould, the Helen Goldsmith Menschel director of the Jewish Museum. 

It was MAC director and chief curator John Zeppetelli's hope last spring, as the exhibition was closing in Montreal, that it would live on internationally.

Zeppetelli said an exhibition in New York would make Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything attractive to more international institutions.

"[It's] incredibly important to show this in New York, which is a huge musical centre, cultural centre, Jewish centre," he said.

The exhibit closes in New York City next September and will then go to Copenhagen in 2019 and San Francisco in 2020.

"As the west coast exclusive, we are thrilled to share the late Leonard Cohen's life and the artistic responses it inspired with our diverse audiences," said Lori Starr, the executive director of the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

The MAC said plans are underway to extend the tour and add other destinations. 

The size of the exhibition has made it challenging to find spaces that can properly accommodate it.

MAC director and chief curator John Zeppetelli was already in talks to tour Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything while it was still open in Montreal. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

Forty artists came together to create works for the exhibition and the MAC completely remodeled its space to accommodate them.

"It's a vast exhibition and not everyone has the space we have," Zeppetelli said. "Even big museums can't take the totality of the show."

He said this tour will help boost the MAC's global presence and promote Quebec, Canadian and international artists, as well as promoting Montreal itself, on the world stage.

The exhibition was presented in collaboration with CBC/Radio-Canada and became the most attended in the MAC's history after attracting 315,000 visitors.  

"The great interest it piques on the international scene confirms the colossal impact of the work of Leonard Cohen, whose legacy remains alive and current despite his passing," said Zeppetelli.

About the Author

Elysha Enos

Journalist

Elysha Enos is a journalist with CBC Montreal.

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