The singer, song­writer, poet and artist may be gone, but his in­flu­ence is ever present—and will be on dis­play at the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Ash­ley Joseph

The Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal mounts an am­bi­tious ode to the late Leonard Cohen.

The night the news of Leonard Cohen’s death broke, I walked the few blocks from my apart­ment to join a crowd of Mon­treal­ers gath­ered at his doorstep, a vigil for the man we were all so proud to call one of us. Can­dles, let­ters, art­works, pho­tos and faces en­cir­cled his home, the in­deli­ble mark he left on the city in full view. This month, a year af­ter his death, the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal will pay tribute to the poet, artist, writer and mu­si­cian with A Crack in Ev­ery­thing, which ex­plores Cohen’s legacy through the eyes of con­tem­po­rary film­mak­ers, pho­tog­ra­phers, dancers, mu­si­cians and con­cep­tual artists. Co-cu­ra­tors John Zep­petelli and Vic­tor Shiff­man set out to hon­our Mon­treal’s na­tive son by let­ting his in­flu­ence speak for it­self. “Leonard was touched that an ex­hi­bi­tion around his work and his con­tri­bu­tion as an artist to other artists was un­der way,” says Zep­petelli. “He was re­ally pleased that he, as an 80-year-old man, was able to in­spire younger artists.”

At the time, Cohen had been fo­cus­ing on his fi­nal al­bum, You Want It Darker—re­leased less than three weeks be­fore his pass­ing—but Zep­petelli and Shiff­man had his full sup­port. “We had Leonard’s and his man­ager’s ap­proval to use any ma­te­rial the artists deemed nec­es­sary,” says Zep­petelli. “They made avail­able to us all of his mu­sic rights, all of the lit­er­ary rights.” The idea for the show had been sim­mer­ing for at least a year prior to Cohen’s pass­ing; it was orig­i­nally slated as part of Mon­treal’s 375th an­niver­sary. “That was re­ally the idea: to cel­e­brate a Mon­trealer who be­came a global icon and who, for 50 years, was con­tin­u­ing to make im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the cul­ture, not just as a mu­si­cian but as a writer and a thinker,” ex­plains Zep­petelli.

Cohen’s own self-por­traits will adorn the en­trances to the gallery, giv­ing way to the mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary ex­hi­bi­tion that fea­tures an im­pres­sive ros­ter of artists from within the art world—Jenny Holzer, Jon Raf­man, Ari Fol­man, Ge­orge Fok—and be­yond. Moby, Ari­ane Mof­fatt, The Na­tional and Jean Leloup, along with the Mon­treal Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, will lend their voices in a ded­i­cated space called “Lis­ten­ing to Leonard,” with cov­ers recorded ex­clu­sively for the show.

In­stal­la­tions range from vir­tual re­al­ity (VR)— vis­i­tors will ex­pe­ri­ence Zach Richter’s VR ex­pe­ri­ence, Hal­lelu­jah, which pre­miered at the Tribeca Film Fes­ti­val back in April—to dance, with a live per­for­mance from lo­cal chore­og­ra­pher Clara Furey, to found ob­jects and film.

South African artist Candice Bre­itz—who re­cently un­veiled a project fea­tur­ing Ju­lianne Moore and Alec Bald­win at the Venice Bi­en­nale—will rep­re­sent the lat­ter cat­e­gory with what Zep­petelli calls “an an­thro­pol­ogy of fan­dom.” A wall of 18 screens will dis­play in­di­vid­ual record­ings of male fans over the age of 65 singing the en­tirety of I’m Your Man in a pro­fes­sional record­ing, fol­low­ing along to the al­bum with ear­buds. The in­di­vid­ual videos will come to­gether to form a cho­rus, joined by a sin­gle screen dis­play­ing ear­bud-sport­ing singers from the Shaar Hashomayim choir (Cohen’s fam­ily syn­a­gogue), who will chime in with oohs and aahs and lalalas. »

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