Montréal, May 19, 2010In this new series of photographs titled Attaché, Québec artist David K. Ross continues his examination of the world behind the scenes of art and museology. Previously, with Dark Rooms, Ross explored the places where works, crates and materials are stored. This time, he looks at the system of putting artworks away in storage and (literally) highlights the shipping and packing crates used by different museums. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal presents David K. Ross – Attaché from May 21 to September 6, 2010.

Ross’s specific focus here is the connection between a particular stage in museography and a moment in contemporary art history. Since the mid-1960s, public art galleries in Canada have used a coded colour attached to their institution to identify their packing and storage crates. Under this system, pink was the MACM’s colour until 1989, followed by deep purple after 1989, ochre yellow was for the MMFA/MBAM, pale turquoise for the AGO/MBAO, red for the NGC/MBAC, deep blue for the CCA and navy blue for the MNBAQ. Each shade in this museological colour chart refers to a specific museum and can be likened to its attaché case, hence the title of the show: Attaché.

Under a new regulation, however, the exterior of crates may no longer be fully painted over. A little like those artists who become attached to obsolete technologies, Ross has thus salvaged some eight empty crates and photographed a detail of each one, which he then enlarged to nearly the actual size of the crate, so that we could imagine a work being placed inside it. The images, in colour and high resolution, bring out the textures and surfaces of these objects which, surprisingly, recall the issues addressed in the 1950s and 1960s by abstract painting: abstract expressionism, colour field painting, monochromatic abstraction.

The artist

David K. Ross was born in 1966 in Weston, Ontario. He lives and works in Montréal. Apart from Attaché at the MACM, Ross exhibited Alhazen’s Problem a little earlier this year at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland, and will participate, for the fourth time, in the International Garden Festival at the Jardins de Métis. He, along with Rebecca Duclos, presented an exhibition last year at Concordia University’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery entitled As much as possible given the time and space allotted. In 2008, his photographs were included in the inaugural Québec Triennial here at the Musée. Finally, in 2007, he was part of the group show Voir/Noir at the Musée d’art de Joliette. His works may be found in a number of private and public collections including the Canada Council Art Bank, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Musée d’art contemporain.

Organization and catalogue

The exhibition was organized by Josée Bélisle, curator in charge of the Musée Collection. It is accompanied by a bilingual, 64-page catalogue that contains essays by Josée Bélisle and Peter White, a list of works, a biobibliography and colour reproductions of the works. The publication may be purchased for $19.95 at the museum’s Boutique or from your local bookseller.

Guided tours

Guided tours of the exhibition will be offered by the education team on Wednesday evenings at 5, 6 and 7:30 p.m. in French and 6:30 p.m. in English, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m. in French or English. Free of charge.

Source and Information

Anne Dongois
T. 514 826-2050
[email protected]