Presented from May 12 to September 16, 2018, From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-face Picasso, Past and Present ended on a resounding note with a total attendance of 187,173 visitors, thus placing it among the 20 most popular exhibitions in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ (MMFA) history.
This major Montreal exhibition presented a new perspective on art history and invited visitors to reflect on the issues raised by the decolonization of the gaze. Following milestones in the life of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and evolving historical attitudes, it explored the close relationship between the Spanish master and the arts of Africa, the Americas and Oceania. It was an opportunity to discover remarkable creations by Picasso and the artistic richness of works by anonymous artists in non-European countries, dating from the 19th and early 20th century. Throughout the show, works by contemporary artists, of mostly African descent, provided a counterpoint to Picasso, multiplying the points of view on an international history of art that bears rethinking.
Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA, and curator of the Montreal presentation, is proud of the enthusiasm generated by this MMFA adaptation of an exhibition designed by the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in coproduction with the Musée national Picasso-Paris: “A great attendance success, which demonstrates the interest in and relevance of this bold project. The comments from visitors, curious and moved by this positive, broad-minded intercultural approach, have been extremely positive. A big thank you to our audiences for their support.”
Alongside Picasso, Face-to-face, the MMFA offered the public the opportunity to continue their visit with the exhibition Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art.Developed by the Royal Ontario Museum, this exhibition challenged preconceived notions of Blackness in Canada through the work of 11 contemporary artists.
Over 10,000 visitors to the youth gallery
In a mediation space adjacent to the Picasso exhibition, the Museum invited the public to reflect on female representation in art in a joint project with community organizationYouth Fusion and The Woman Power, a Montreal collective that promotes the positive representation and affirmation of women in society. This free presentation included the installation The Real Demoiselles d’Avignon, a participatory mosaic executed by The Woman Power around the celebrated Picasso canvas. It also featured an exhibition created by students of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM), in collaboration with Youth Fusion, on the subject of encountering the Other.