By Kelli Sturkenboom
This Friday, the Musée d’art contemporain hosted its fourth “Friday Nocturne” event of the year. This time, it was a special Biennale edition to coincide with the three-month-long art festival going on in Montréal. Their L’avenir exhibition was open from 5pm until 2am, with DJs, cocktail bars, light bites and special performances.
A night at the musée: Nocturne Biennale
When I heard about the Nocturne event, I was extremely excited. Having been familiar with the Biennale exhibition at the MAC already, I could think of no better way to spend a Friday evening than exploring the current show with friends, a drink in hand, and groovy music in the background.
I was thrilled to find out that a lot of my friends wanted to come, even those who were not aware of the Biennale, or had never even been to the MAC before. We arrived, checked our coats, and entered the exhibition, being greeted first by the expertly-selected sounds of the DJ in the central atrium. Enjoying a drink, which we soon found out were not allowed inside the exhibition itself, we relaxed on the second-floor balcony until we were finished and proceeded inside.
As we entered the right hand corridor of the second floor, we moved through the space and finally came to one of my favourite pieces; the gargantuan, mirrored Nicolas Baier sculpture, Eternity (2014). The massive piece looked incredible, and encouraged interaction and movement around it. In the corner was one of Abbas Akhavan’s unlabelled taxidermy animals–a shocking addition to the show which startled my group and had us wondering what they were and who had made them during the rest of our visit, especially when we ran into the similar fox on the other side of the building.
In the large space on the other side was the imposing KALLITAQ installation by Arctic Perspective Initiative, a model of traditional modular habitation, as well as their collection of flags of the nations and peoples of the Circumpolar region. Across from this, Andrea Bowers’ striking but unnerving installation, Courtroom Drawings, displayed text messages used as evidence for the Steubenville Rape Case of 2013. Nearby, we were quite taken by a large pillow on which one could lounge and listen to strange sounds in a pair of headphones. The space was effectively and impressively filled, with diverse pieces side-by-side, and surprising installations around every corner.
The one drawback of the evening was the inability to really experience or focus on any of the video works; the abundance of visitors moving in and out of each room was slightly distracting. There was also one installation that took up an entire large gallery space, Simon Denny’s All You Need Is Data (2012), which was a repetitive and somewhat unstimulating piece. It did not seem compatible in such a large portion of the exhibition space, and forced visitors to move through its winding barriers to access the next room.
The concept of the Nocturne events are awesome; encouraging people who may have never experienced the museum to come check it out and hopefully return again. It was incredible how busy the event was. By midnight, there was a huge crowd dancing, touring the show, and enjoying the atmosphere. It is definitely an event I will be attending again, and I almost wish it happened more frequently. The craft station didn’t hurt, either.
Make sure you mark your calendar for the next Friday Nocturne when it is announced–you don’t want to miss it! Otherwise–make sure to see L’avenir; the exhibition is on at the MAC until January 4.