Giant paintings are being planned in Cohen’s hometown alongside an expansive exhibition planned to coincide with the first anniversary of his death
Friday 16 June 2017 15.00 AEST Last modified on Saturday 17 June 2017 00.33 AEST
“I feel at home when I’m in Montreal – in a way that I don’t feel anywhere else,” Leonard Cohen told an interviewer in 2006. Cohen, the poet, songwriter, and performer, died on 7 November 2016. At 82 years old, Cohen had hardly slowed down, having just released what would be his final album, You Want It Darker, and perhaps readying another.
He also authorized an exhibition of his work and now, Montreal’s Musée d’Art Contemporain (AKA the Mac) has announced that Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything, will open 9 November, as part of the city’s official 375th anniversary celebration.
The show, which takes its name from Cohen’s 1992 song Anthem, will open exactly one year after Cohen’s death, and will run until 9 April 2018. It will be a coming home of sorts for Cohen, who grew up in Montreal before moving to the US.
The retrospective at the Mac will feature 18 new works of art, with 40 artists from around the world confirmed to take part in the tribute. The show will extend beyond the walls of the museum, with installations and performances taking over Montreal’s streets and buildings. The visual artist Jenny Holzer will project phrases from Cohen’s poems and songs, in French and English, on to the side of the building known as Silo No 5, for five days beginning 7 November.
John Zeppetelli, director and chief curator of the Mac, called Cohen a “local legend who was simultaneously also a planetary star”.
“Cohen is so identified with Montreal. He kept a house here, he’s now buried here,” he added
Maquette de la murale en l'honneur de Leonard Cohen qui sera créée par l'organisme MU au 1420, rue Crescent #mtl #polmtl
The South African artist Candice Breitz will recreate Cohen’s 1988 album I’m Your Man in its entirety with the help of some of Montreal’s amateur singers, all men over the age of 65. She will pair their voices with backing vocals performed by the choir of the synagogue Cohen belonged to. Appropriately, given Cohen’s frequently somber oeuvre, the Israeli film director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) is planning to create a “Depression Box” – a darkened room big enough only for one person and their demons. The work trace the themes of depression and sorrow that ran through much of Cohen’s work.
Cohen songs will also be involved with the museum and city setting up a series of concerts to run parallel with the exhibition, as well as an installation at the Mac that will envelop visitors in Cohen’s music. Called Listening to Leonard, it will feature cover versions of Cohen’s music by local and international artists, including Moby, Lou Doillon, Socalled, Ariane Moffatt, and Jean Leloup.
A nine-story mural featuring Cohen’s face topped with his classic hat is still a work-in-progress in the Plateau neighborhood that Cohen called home.
The mural is being constructed as part of the fifth Mural International Public Art Festival, and as the Montreal Gazette points out, each careful stroke by artist Kevin Ledo has been thoroughly documented by residents using social media to document its development.