Saturday, August 22, 2009

More on Montreal ..... the pretty city

.... filled with a mixed bag of museums.

In our continuing efforts to get through my Montreal pictures, let me take you on a museum tour.

I'll admit it. I like museums. They usually are peaceful, designed for you to be in for long periods, and well-air conditioned/heated. What's not to like, right? I think my own lists of conditions for a great museum include art, lighting, relative quite, a nice cafe (preferred, but not required), strategic benches, and collections and physical sizing that can keep me occupied for most of a day. I did not always get that in Montreal.

First of the museum adventures was The Montreal Museum of Archaeology:
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Admission is $14CND for adults and the whatever-were-they-thinking value was there, but not the museum value. They do a lovely tour that is quite long and informative, but if you can't stand for long periods on hard surfaces (no leaning allowed) and aren't fascinated by the sight of the remains of basement walls, then the tour is not so much for you. Of course, if you don't do the tour you might wander through in 15 minutes and wonder why you paid a looney a minute for your time. Of course, you might have paid that ticket fee as an alternative to joining a gym because the most frequent sight in the museum is stairs:
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lots and lots of stairs
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There are exhibits of artifacts:
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But there aren't very many.
There are also great views from the 3rd and 4th floors of the tower:
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All-in-all, even with reading and staring a lot on my own, the 45 minute tour, and wandering through the 3rd floor gift shop twice, I was still out of there in less than 2 hours. Sad. Very sad.

Next on my museum tour was the Montreal Museum of Modern Art. The $8CND admission is perfectly acceptable for a half-day museum adventure (that would be for the slow museum goer-- if you don't linger, don't plan on a half-day for this one).
Through October 4th you can visit a special exhibit by Christine Davis-- the only bit of the museum that really held my interest. I highly recommend spending at least a half hour watching her "Pas moi" piece.
You can go here to see a half decent picture. At least it gives you an idea of the piece.
It's a pair of boards covered-- literally from stem to stern in all sorts of buttons, kept in a dark room, that have phrases in French and English from Samuel Beckett shot on them from slide projectors (yes, I have to admit that I couldn't help contemplating how many really cool biscornu all those buttons could adorn). Maybe I was meant to be a magpie, but watching the sparkles change as the lightening/words changed on the piece thoroughly entranced me. At the end of each cycle of words, the boards are completely lit and trust me, you too will start thinking hard about making biscornu! I also have to admit that it warmed my heart to see antique buttons I have in a jar by my bed up there in the museum.
There's another pair of pieces in the Davis exhibit I'd recommend watching for a while. First, there's Did I Love a Dream?, which is an old film dance segment (Loie Fuller's serpentine dances in L'Apres-midi d'un faune) shown on/through drapes of copper screening-- very cool, trust me. And finally, there is "Euclid/Orchid" which is a transparency of a mathematical text shown on a live orchid plant. I know it sounds weird, but the effect is really neat.

Also worth the time at the museum is Robert Polidori installation of several rooms of large-scale photographs of distressed buildings, cities, etc. Ok, so maybe I really liked it because I tend to take those pictures too, but the exhibit is nice (and quite expansive) nonetheless. Usually i go through an exhibit and then go back to the pieces that I thought really talked to me. While there were several in this one that I thought really had my number, they didn't keep talking upon a second visit. Maybe the scale lends itself to an amazing first impression only. You can see some of the images in the collection and read a bit about it here.

Sorry to say there is no photography in the museum, but I can show you it's lovely outdoor fountain and sculptures:
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Rainbow by Allard and Duchesneau:
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sorry, I didn't get the name of this one:
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Only one museum to go, but I simply have to quit. Sorry, I've been sitting in one spot too long and my fanny wants a wander. Oh, I'd also like lunch now that it's time for dinner. Hmmmm wonder if the fish taco place is open.

One last question-- anyone out there going to the North American Discworld Con next month in AZ? Wanna meet up? hee hee, yes, 2 scifi cons in 2 months--- what's not to love?!!?


mainely stitching said...

I wish we could've made it to WorldCon but your wonderful posts made me feel as if I were there. :D

Siobhan said...

More fabulous photos!! You have a talent with the camera.

Carolyn NC said...

Great pictures!

Chris said...

Great photos. Love the fountains.