La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux
The exhibition program that became La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux initially emerged from an intensive round of studio visits with Montréal-based artists and was planned to take place over numerous instalments during the Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal’s closure for renovations. After those renovations were delayed, however, this extended program was condensed into a single exhibition that, intentionally or not, resembled a biennial format. With over thirty participating artists, it composed the largest survey of local art since the last Québec Triennial in 2011, and was one of the most substantial group exhibitions in the city since the final iteration of the ill-fated Biennale de Montréal in 2016.
“Who are museums really for?” is a question that has been on many lips of late, and the MAC Montréal is one among many museums to stage a recent survey exhibition of artists from their local area, marking a heightened attention to immediate communities rather than a global or touristic public. However, due to both design and circumstance, La machine… was hardly a definitive or authoritative portrait of art practice in Montréal.