Big Bang at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts


Like everyone, a museum gets the winter doldrums
Organizing an exhibit is better than twiddling one’s thumbs.
I can hear them now, “we’ve got two and a half months to fill.”
“Something local and cross-disciplinary would fit the bill!”

Let’s get some local vedettes, get them to choose something from our collection
Have them respond in kind with their art, kind of like making a connection.”
In theory and on paper the idea looked good if not great,
The sad truth of the matter, unfortunately was a bunch of art that was second rate.

The first pairing was Rodin with Michel Rabagliati
The cartoon and the sculpture were fine, but the incessant noise drove me batty.

Pierre Soulages and Roland Poulin
Brush strokes on canvas, brushed metal, sounds like a plan.

Jean Verville and Pierre Lapointe used Patrick Join’s C2 chair
Stacked plastic chairs and a ditty on a piano was what we were supposed to compare.
There was no info on the song, and I bet their stock came from Home Depot.
I can’t quite decide if they mailed it in, or if they just had a budget that was cheap-o.

Adad Hannah and Denys Arcand wanted to use Archizoom’s Safari Sofa
So they made a multi-channel video about a bunch of cocaine snorting loafers.
The sound track should have been disco but was more world beat
And there were other details that, for me, made it incomplete.

Renata Morales likes George Segal’s Woman Sitting on a Bed
She made something to represent everything in the woman’s head.
Birds and dolls made from cloth, a tad simplistic,
But from a clothing designer quite artistic.

Jennifer Alleyn and Nancy Huston used some drawings from Jennifer’s dad.
The technology failed and as a consequence this installation was both sad and bad.

Gilles Saucier used Composition 11 by Borduas
One shiny white wall, one shiny black wall, kind of blah.

Riopelle’s The Circus was used by Jeannot Painchaud
She took it kind of literally and her videos of circus performers fairly glowed.
Next time, I’d suggest instead of the title that she focus on the content
Making something that combines with the original, to augment.

Marie Chouinard was the most egregious
The pictures of her dancers were atrocious.
Looking at them, you couldn’t see the piece from the museum
Perfect definition of the word hokum.

Melissa Auf de Maur liked Hodler’s Halberdier,
Taking pictures of herself naked with old army gear.
How a panoramic camera becomes a weapon
I something that I can’t reckon.

En Masse used Penck’s Start of the Lion Hunt
As an excuse to paint a large room, left, right, back and front
Completely with cartoon like drawings in white and black
Their work is not a tough nut to crack.

Wadji Mouwad used a photograph by Catherine Opie
As a means to talk about childhood very aggressively.
But beyond the quote, I think all the art was made by Raymond Marius Boucher
He gets credit for “Art Direction” and probably can better make what Wadji wanted to convey.

Genvieve Cadieux compared her work to Tom Thomson’s Northern Lights
Marfa, Texas is not Northern Ontario, unless it’s history she rewrites.

Claude Cormier used a piece of 12th century religious art
And a wall of stuffed animals, probably thought he was being smart.

Jean Derome wasn’t content with just one.
27 paintings, and 72 pieces of music is just a little overdone.
It would have been nicer if he hadn’t relied so much on chance.
And if there was more light, viewing the paintings would have been enhanced.

Rita redid a Lawren Harris painting as couches
Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard and Karine Corbeil are no slouches.
Nice to end the exhibit on a high note.
Leaving with a smile is always good; quote, unquote.

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