To mark the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is presenting In Search of Expo 67, a major exhibition of new works by contemporary Québec and Canadian artists, all inspired by Expo 67.

Expo 67 was the heart and highlight of the Canadian Centennial celebrations and its impact on the Montréal, Québec and Canadian psyche is immense. Yet, while Expo 67 looms large in our collective memory, much of what made it so exceptional—the creative freedom offered to artists, architects and designers to experiment with new forms and technologies, and the incredible diversity of cultural productions—is less known. This major exhibition will investigate the most innovative, experimental and provocative dimensions of the original event, and its artistic, social and political context.

In Search of Expo 67 gives artists an opportunity to research this fertile ground and produce works that resonate with a contemporary public.     The exhibition includes 19 works by Québec and Canadian artists, 16 of which are new works created in dialogue with the spirit of 1967, challenging some of its underlying presumptions and valorizing its undeniable degree of invention. Grounded in the idea of exploring the resonances between what Expo 67 was and what remains in 2017, the artists, who have no direct experience of Expo 67, are developing projects on, among others, the Canada Pavilion (the People Tree, the Children’s Creative Centre and Katimavik), the Québec Pavilion, the Pavilions of France, the Indians of Canada and the United States of America, Kaleidoscope, as well as the rich sound experimentations of 1967, and the history and current condition of the site itself. The exhibition is built on three layers of engagement: production of new art works; recreation of works dating from 1967 using new technologies; and activation of archival material.

The exhibition is built on three layers of engagement: production of new art works; recreation of works dating from 1967 using new technologies; and activation of archival material.

The artists creating new works are:

  • Jean-Pierre Aubé
  • Marie-Claire Blais and Pascal Grandmaison
  • Simon Boudvin
  • Stéphane Gilot
  • Geronimo Inutiq
  • Leisure (Meredith Carruthers and Susannah Wesley)
  • Emmanuelle Léonard
  • Duane Linklater
  • Caroline Martel
  • David Ritter and Kathleen Ritter
  • David K. Ross
  • Chris Salter
  • Cheryl Sim
  • Charles Stankievech
  • Krista Belle Stewart
  • Althea Thauberger

Also included will be existing artworks by:

  • Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn
  • Mark Ruwedel,
  • Phil Hoffman and Eva Kolcze

A bilingual publication, to be co-published by the MAC and McGill-Queen’s University Press (MQUP) is planned for spring 2018. The book will contain scholarly texts, a curatorial essay as well as documentation of the exhibition, artists’ statements about their creative process, and archival materials. While the exhibition focuses on new contemporary artworks, the publication explores related themes of commemoration, nationalism and culture, as well as deeper investigations of the archival research process that has nurtured many of the contemporary artworks.

In Search of Expo 67 is a curatorial collaboration between MAC curator Lesley Johnstone and Monika Kin Gagnon, a university-based researcher, curator, writer, and co-director of the Concordia University research group CinemaExpo67.

The exhibition is organized with the support of CINEMAexpo67, Concordia University, Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, Hexagram, the Cinémathèque québécoise, Place des Arts, the Archives of the City of Montréal, the National Film Board of Canada, the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is part of the official programming for Montréal’s 375th anniversary and for Expo 67 – 50 years later.

Available on Thinking out Loud (Concordia University): interviews hosted by Monika Kin Gagnon with contemporary artists reimagining Montreal’s iconic world’s fair. Listen or download the podcasts