Travel Blog

6 May

Blockbuster Spring and Summer 2016 Montréal Museum Exhibitions

Priceless antiquities from ancient Pompeii, the famous Moulin Rouge posters of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the “shocking” homoerotic photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Italy’s iconic post-war fashion designers are just some of the blockbuster museum exhibitions on display in Montréal this spring and summer.

POMPEI_MBAMThe Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is having a huge year: Visitors are raving about the current POMPEII: A Roman City exhibition which chronicles the life and death of Pompeii, the wealthy playground for some of Rome’s most influential citizens that was destroyed by the spectacular volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. This deeply moving exhibition features nearly 200 archaeological artifacts – statues in bronze and marble, mosaics, frescoes and decorative arts – that offer an extraordinary glimpse into daily life at the height of the Roman Empire. POMPEII: A Roman City runs at the MMFA until Sept. 5.

Touluse-Lautrec_MBAMThe MMFA also presents Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, one of the best-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period, famed for his posters commissioned by the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The exhibition features close to 100 works by Toulouse-Lautrec, including several rare or unique trial proofs. Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque runs from June 18 to Oct. 30.

After premiering at the Los Angeles County Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum in March 2016, the critically-hailed Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium exhibition opens at the MMFA in late summer. The iconic and controversial gay American photographer is famous for his homoerotic male nudes and celebrity portraits. This exhibition features 250 works, mostly Mapplethorpe’s highly stylized black-and-white photographs, covering the artist’s entire career, from the early 1970s until his death from complications related to AIDS, at the age of 42 in 1989. Mapplethorpe runs from Sept. 10 to Jan. 22, 2017.

Eleganza_Italian_Fashion_McCordThe McCord Museum presents Eleganza: Italian Fashion Since From 1945 to Today by London’s famed Victoria and Albert Museum, beginning on May 26. The exhibition features dresses and creations by Valentino, Armani, Fendi, Prada, Dolce Gabbana and Emilio Pucci, and explores the post-war glamour and influence of Italian fashion. Eleganza: Italian Fashion Since From 1945 to Today runs at the McCord from May 26 to Sept. 25.


Pointe-à-Callière, the largest archaeology museum in Canada, presents the world premiere of the exhibition Of Horses and Men — The Émile Hermès Collection, Paris which traces the history of the horse and its relationship with humans. For the first time in its history, Hermès of Paris is sharing over 300 artifacts and objects from the private collection of saddle maker-turned-leather merchant and avant-garde couturier Émile Hermès. From a simple harness to paintings by the great masters, it is all here. A must-see for horse lovers and fans of equestrian history. Of Horses and Men runs from May 20 to Oct. 16.

Currently underway, the fascinating Animal Inside Out: BODY WORLDS exhibition is an all-new exhibition from Dr. Gunther von Hagens who applies his controversial “plastination” technique to reveal the muscular, skeletal, nervous and digestive systems, blood vessels and internal organs beneath the skin of more than 50 animals. No animal was harmed or killed for this exhibition, which runs at the Montreal Science Centre until Sept. 11.

There are two superb retrospectives on display at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (called “the MAC” by locals): Edmund Alleyn: In My Studio, I Am Many showcases some 50 works by the late Canadian artist, from May 19 to Sept. 25; and Liz Mago surveys the works of the most influential Canadian sculptor of the past 30 years, from June 22 to Sept. 5.

The 2016 edition of the World Press Photo traveling exhibition pulls into Marché Bonsecours in Old Montréal from Aug. 25 to Oct. 1.

BArbie_Museum_portraitAnd do not miss the crowd-pleasing Barbie Expo, the world’s largest Barbie museum featuring over 1,000 Barbies, including Hollywood stars, unique one-of-a-kind Barbie dolls and glamourous outfits created by famous fashion designers. Barbie Expo is located in the downtown Les Cours Mont-Royal. Free admission.

Up next: Major must-not-miss Montréal concerts in 2016


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