Montréal, June 15, 2017 – Le Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is very pleased to announce the full program (all artists and projects) for the international exhibition Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything, inspired by the world of Leonard Cohen and the great themes of his life and work. This major exhibition is the first to be entirely devoted to the imagination and legacy of this great singer/songwriter, man of letters and global icon from Montréal. CBC/Radio-Canada is proud to be the presenter of this unique exhibition opening on November 9, 2017, one year after Cohen’s passing, and will run until April 9, 2018. It is part of the official program for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebrations.

123 days
18 new works of art
40 artists confirmed
13 visual artists
7 filmmakers
20 musicians
from 10 countries
A series of concerts and events in parallel with the exhibition

Poet, novelist, singer and songwriter whose work is renowned worldwide, Leonard Cohen remains one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of our time. Having attracted a global audience during five decades of writing and music-making, he garnered a cross-generational fan base and is revered by younger musicians and artists as a major figure from the 1960s who worked right into the early 21st century. “I am very proud of this exhibition about Leonard Cohen […] which is a tribute to this profoundly local but instantaneously global star, a true icon of Montreal culture. […] Cohen has filled our collective imagination with thoughts and songs on a number of topics that touch us all as human beings”, said John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator at the MAC.

Bringing a major project to fruition

The MAC is especially proud to announce the exhibition program today since it has taken more than two years of work by the curators and artists. The exhibition, which was authorized by Leonard Cohen himself before he died, is designed to be a contemporary exploration of the great master’s impact and influence, coupled since his death with a desire to pay tribute to his life and work.

A life’s work revisited through contemporary art

A truly multidisciplinary exhibition combining visual art, virtual reality, installations, performances, music and writing, Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything offers the public a collection of brand-new work commissioned from and created by local and international artists who have been inspired by Leonard Cohen’s style and recurring themes. At the same time, it is a particularly Montreal-centric exhibition that has received outstanding support from the community.

Beyond the works to be created especially for Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything, the exhibition will also include innovative multimedia environments where Cohen’s songs will be covered and performed, as well as a survey of his archival material (writings, drawings and recordings produced over the past half-century).

CBC/Radio-Canada, the official presenter of the exhibition, will produce content on all its platforms in order to celebrate Leonard Cohen’s achievements, further expanding on this exhibit and its artists.


When we came up with the idea for this exhibition, we went to seek the agreement of Leonard Cohen, who was thrilled with the project and the angle we were proposing. It was important for him that this exhibit would not be of a biographical nature. From the start, the project was thought as a contemporary artistic exploration of a life’s work, and in that sense, he was thrilled to be able to inspire other artists through his art. Given his recent death, our exhibition has taken on a new meaning. It has also become a tribute to this global star. We have a great responsibility to the public and the approach adopted by the artists will definitely be sensitive to this aspect, to reflect both our gratitude and our respect for this Montréal artist.”

– John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator, MAC

Leonard Cohen was a true Montrealer and his love for our city always remained close to his heart. Montreal was the city of his birth, the city where he came of age, where he drew inspiration and creative nourishment and where he would finally come to rest. It is therefore an enormous honour and privilege for the MAC to be presenting this exhibition and bringing together such a array of talented artists, from home and abroad, to celebrate and pay homage to our most illustrious ambassador, the great bard of our city, our eternal poet of love and brokenness.

– Victor Shiffman, Guest Curator, MAC

“Many talented individuals in the arts community have come together to pay a vibrant tribute to Leonard Cohen and this exhibition is the impressive result. The public will have a chance to see the genius of this great Montrealer who, through his poetry and profound humanity, still reaches out to his fans all over the world. He makes Quebecers proud.”

– Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Montréal region

“I’m proud to see tributes being paid to this great Montrealer as part of the anniversary celebrations for the city he loved so much. The 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal is an opportunity for us to look back, to showcase those who have led the way, to remember the moments that marked us. Leonard Cohen was going to be part of those celebrations and he is still, in a way that is true to his immense talent and outstanding career. I congratulate you, Mr. Cohen, for everything you have bequeathed us, and I thank the MAC for this major exhibition, a gift to the entire world.”

– Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal

“It’s an honour to present Leonard Cohen, a much-loved legend, but also one of Montreal’s great artists, in a major exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Given the way his voice and art have marked the entire world, it was inevitable that the Society for the Celebrations of Montreal’s 37the Anniversary would pay tribute to this cultural icon.”

– Alain Gignac, General Manager, Society for the Celebrations of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary

Universal and profoundly human themes

Ranging from Cohen’s relationships with his dog and his father to his love of Montréal, the artists will explore themes that marked the artist’s life: darkness, light, religion, politics, love, desire, intimacy and poetry. Some examples:

– Visual artist Jenny Holzer (United States) will project a selection of texts from Cohen’s poems and songs, in French and English, on Silo No. 5, one of Montreal’s most iconic architectural structures. This large-scale work will launch the exhibition in November 2017, marking the 1st anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s passing. Montrealers will be able to view the projection for five nights, from November 7 to 11.

– I’m Your Man (A Portrait of Leonard Cohen), a new multi-channel video installation by Candice Breitz (South Africa), brings together a community of ardent Leonard Cohen fans—each of whom has cherished Cohen’s music for over half a century—to pay posthumous tribute to the late legend. Each of the eighteen individuals featured was offered the opportunity to perform and record his own version of Cohen’s magnificent comeback album, I’m Your Man (1988), in a professional recording studio in old Montreal. At Breitz’s invitation, the album’s backing vocals have been sumptuously re-interpreted by the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir, an all-male choir representing the Westmount congregation that Cohen belonged to all his life. Freshly commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to be debuted in Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything in November 2017, Breitz’s I’m Your Man is a tender farewell to a recently lost poet and musician, as well as a poignant celebration of late masculinity.

– Montréal filmmaker Kara Blake will create a new video installation that invites the spectator to delve into Cohen’s thought process and his very special relationship with the city of Montréal. Entitled The Offerings, this new piece will be projected in a dark space and will engage visitors in an intimate conversation with Leonard Cohen.

– Israeli film director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bachir, 2008) is planning to create a “Depression Box.” One visitor at a time will be able to enter this darkened room at the MAC to be confronted by the darkness and demons of depression, themes that can be traced throughout Cohen’s body of work and that Folman wishes to explore with this piece.

– In an installation that will allow visitors to be enveloped by the music, Listening to Leonard will offer exclusively recorded cover versions of Cohen’s songs by local and international artists, including Ariane Moffatt with l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Jean Leloup, Chilly Gonzales and Jarvis Cocker, Moby and Socalled.

A unique experience of Cohen’s work and imagination

Created exclusively for the MAC for this occasion, the exhibition aims to create an immersive, participatory, visually compelling and in-depth experience of Cohen’s poetic aesthetics of art and life.

Given the scope, the unprecedented nature and the experiential content of this exhibition, the MAC would like to send it on an international tour to allow as many people as possible to share this unique experience of Cohen’s world.

A series of concerts and events in parallel with the exhibition

In parallel with the exhibition, the MAC will be organizing a series of concerts, in collaboration with Pop Montréal. The full program, which will include artists talks and special events related to the exhibition, will be announced later this year. The 12th edition of the Max and Iris Stern International Symposium (April 6 and 7, 2018) will be devoted to Leonard Cohen.

List of confirmed artists for this exhibition

  • Kara Blake (Canada)
  • Candice Breitz (South Africa)
  • Daily tous les jours (Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat) (Canada)
  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (Canada)
  • Chassol (France)
  • Tacita Dean (United Kingdom)
  • Thomas Demand (Germany)
  • Kota Ezawa (Germany)
  • George Fok (Hong Kong)
  • Ari Folman (Israel)
  • Clara Furey (Canada)
  • Jenny Holzer (United States)
  • Jon Rafman (Canada)
  • Michael Rakowitz (United States)
  • Zach Richter (United States)
  • The Sanchez Brothers (Canada)
  • Taryn Simon (United States)

Participating musicians in the installation Listening to Leonard (part of the exhibition)

  • Ariane Moffatt (Canada) with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
  • Aurora (Norway)
  • Basia Bulat (Canada)
  • Chilly Gonzales (Canada) & Jarvis Cocker (United Kingdom) with The Kaiser Quartett
  • Dear Criminals (Canada)
  • Douglas Dare (United Kingdom)
  • Jean Leloup (Canada)
  • Julia Holter (United States)
  • Little Scream (United States)
  • Lou Doillon (France)
  • Mélanie De Biasio (Belgium)
  • Moby (United States)
  • The National (United States) with Sufjan Stevens and guests
  • Socalled (Canada)


John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC, pays tribute to the voice of Leonard Cohen and to his final creation (in French).

John Zeppetelli provides context for Leonard Cohen – Une brèche en toute chose / A Crack in Everything at the MAC (in French).

A preview of the work of artist Jenny Holzer on Silo No. 5.


The MAC is happy to be associated with local institutional partners who have generously contributed to the production of the exhibition. The MAC extends its warm thanks to CBC/Radio-Canada, the exhibition presenter, as well as the National Film Board of Canada, who made their full archives available to the artists creating work for this project. The MAC also wants to acknowledge the contribution of the National Film Board of Canada as the co-commissioner of a work of art with Daily tous les jours. The MAC also thanks Pop Montréal, partner of the concert series in parallel of the exhibition.


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. The MAC thanks its partners Loto-Québec and Ubisoft Montréal, as well as his media partner La Presse.

The Musée sincerely thanks the following for their generous support towards this exhibition: The Azrieli Foundation, the Stephen and Lillian Vineberg Family Foundation, Nick Tedeschi and Sal Guerrera, the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation.

The MAC is looking for additional financing for this ambitious project. Interested people and organizations can contact the MAC Foundation at:

Naila Del Cid
[email protected]
514 847-6272

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Located in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal makes today’s art a vital part of Montréal and Québec life. For more than fifty years, this vibrant museum has brought together local and international artists, their works, and an ever-growing public. It is also a place of discovery, offering visitors experiences that are continually changing and new, and often unexpected and stirring. The MAC presents temporary exhibitions devoted to outstanding and relevant current artists who provide their own particular insight into our society, as well as exhibitions of works drawn from the museum’s extensive Permanent Collection. These may feature any and every form of expression: digital and sound works, installations, paintings, sculptures, ephemeral pieces, and more. In addition to its wide range of educational activities familiarizing the general public with contemporary art, the MAC organizes unique artistic performances and festive events. It is a window onto a myriad of avant-garde expressions that extend the reach of art throughout the city and beyond.

La Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal

The Society for the Celebration of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary is a non-profit organization whose mission is to organize the festivities and socioeconomic contributions that will mark Montréal’s 375th anniversary in 2017. With a focus on promoting Montréal expertise, it acts as a catalyst for local forces to carry out its mandate: to mobilize the community, implement a funding strategy, rigorously manage funding, develop quality programming and ensure the visibility of the celebrations.

The Society benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal, the Québec government, the Canadian government and private funding from 12 Great Montrealers. For more information:

To learn more about how the Québec government is contributing to Montréal’s 375th birthday celebrations, click here (in French).

Source and Information

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