New York-headquartered Barbara Tamerin, who manages international culture tours, recently brought a group of collectors to Montreal. And why not? The city is bursting with talent; a prestigious major exhibition (Fabergé at the MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS); artists’ studios and galleries – and of course loads of exciting new emerging talent. First stop was the GALERIE DE BELLEFEUILLE, whose success is such that proud owners Helen and Jacques Bellefeuille just opened GB 2 across the street.
Helen Bellefeuille, Barbara Tamerin
The group oogled at DAMIEN HIRST works, admired the glorious printed-on-aluminum images of shipping containers by artist NICOLAS RUEL (the photo series is almost totally sold out), and sipped celebratory champagne before going to dinner with a guest speaker who presented the history of Montreal.
Next day was full of rain – but great energy. The group had a private tour of the Mural Festival – the famous street art fête, where huge walls are covered with fun creations by artists from all over the world. Even the deluge could not dampen enthusiasm for this fun and fabulous discussion.
Lunch was at famed Buona Note, where the paparazzi have been known to catch Hollywood stars. Next stop, one of Montreal’s centres for emerging artists – the BELGO BUILDING. The former office building with its creaky wooden floors has a myriad of galleries and the best secrets in town. PIERRE FRANÇOIS OUELLETTE ART CONTEMPORAIN gallery was the first stop, and always enthusiastic owner Pierre-François Ouellette led a private tour and discussion of works by LUC COURCHESNE (whose Masters thesis over 30 years ago at MIT is still a wonder),
ADAD HANNAH and ED PIEN.
All three are in collections throughout the world. GALERIE DONALD BROWNE, high on the 5th floor, featured Vaselined windows. Yes – ‘lace’ windows created by artist Valérie Kolakis with a stencil and Vaseline years ago, and still sitting prettily. Donald also showed Shari Hatt, whose famous photos of black dogs on a black background include the canines of ALEXANDER McQUEEN.
A visit to artist Paul Émile Rioux’s LANDCUTS Studio showed the artist’s mastery of digital art. He recently showed at Art Basel Miami Beach.
Paul Émile Rioux
Evening cocktails were held in one of Montreal’s most sought-after buildings, in a classically elegant apartment, where a film by MARLA MOSSMAN was shown to 100 invited guests, including artists, architects, lawyers, collectors and captains of industry. The next day, a private tour of the world-renowned FABERGÉ exposition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was very exciting. The exhibit featured the incredibly-intricate pieces against the historical background of an era that ended in murder: the end of the Romanovs.
Lost Fabergé egg.
One long-lost egg, just discovered in a market and bought for scrap metal (!) was also included. Then the group was whisked off to the city’s cutting edge DHC gallery where the CHAPMAN BROTHERS had a one/ two-man show whose pieces combined Nazis, McDonald’s mascot, crucifix figures, black crows and Klu Klux Klan-style mannequins peering at the exhibits.
Speaking of Klu Klux Klan, a bright green piece of an by artist Andrés Serrano was the centre of attention during a cocktail at a private home. Part of the family’s collection, the large photo of a Klan Imperial Wizard – hidden under his coned hat/mask – hung in front of the bed, facing a LYNNE COHEN photo at the other end. Dinner was at one of Montreal’s newest and hottest restaurants – Le Richmond, where André Cornellier ( CORNELLIER PHOTO ) was guest speaker and discussed his show at the McCord Museum. Exhausted but exhilarated, the group gathered at the home of artist HEIDI SPECTOR whose beautiful minimalist geometric pieces – sharp edged colours that resonate under resin – are shown in galleries in New York and Miami. Much of her work is also private commissions, both corporate and private.
Barbara Tamerin has organized tours in Italy, Amsterdam, London, Toronto, and Rio. Her faithful followers agreed that the Montreal tour was on a par with the international successes.