Museums, crucial for cultural democracy, are the Iceberg tip of a complex cultural and economic system. They play a key role in local economic development and are surrounded by a wide range of actors, artists, audiences, self-employed and freelance workers and creative companies.
At the heart of their social, educational and cultural missions, and in order to face the challenges of inclusion and diversity, museums have already set up numerous initiatives: community projects, travelling exhibitions, educational activities for all ages, visits adapted to people with disabilities, etc. However, despite the ambition to reach out to everyone, there is still a long way to go to have an offer that can speak to all the communities concerned. Museums must be flexible in the face of a constantly changing society. Who is our museum offer aimed at? Who decides what is of interest and how to present it? On what criteria are these decisions made? These are all questions raised by the theme of accessibility and inclusion.
These questions are all the more relevant in the context of an unprecedented global epidemic, which has seen all museums close their doors. In this period of containment, the digital offer has now become the only one available to museums, which have taken advantage of the tools they had to continue to make their services accessible to visitors. In just a few clicks, the public can access mobile applications, websites, social networks and virtual exhibitions.
In fact, there has been a remarkable increase of nearly 200% in the number of visits to museum websites since the beginning of the epidemic, which have successfully guaranteed the continuity of their museum offer.
Once this observation has been made, post COVID 19, museums will surely have to be even more creative, as the digital offer alone is not enough and visitors need different ways of experiencing and being in contact with arts and culture. If in recent years the visitor experience has been centred on participation, interaction or multi-sensory solicitation, it is easy to imagine that for some time audiences may be reluctant or afraid to move around the museum: touch screens, crowds, virtual reality headsets, audio headsets, enclosed spaces.
We are therefore entitled to believe that we will have to rethink the services offered by museums and the museographic means of sharing knowledge and heritage: a different way of plunging visitors into the heart of an experience, of engaging them, while adapting to new behavioural norms.
Even if we have to reflect on new strategies to be implemented and creative means to be put in place, it seems relevant to me to include in this discussion all the communities and actors concerned. A new generation of museums, combining cultural innovation, local economic development and social inclusion, may perhaps be born from a work of co-construction and listening, which will continue to support, as they already do, an indispensable ecosystem.
Municipalities, retailers, real estate developers, museums and all other places open to the public will need to reinvent the way people will move through their streets and buildings.
For that, they’re going to have to be inventive to spread messages and be attentive to what people need most right now: find a little bit of wonder in their daily lives to feel better. This is where artists can intervene.
While being focused on the physical distance measures that are coming the signage can be helpful but also beautiful.
To get some inspiration, here are some artists who are experts in floor and wall interventions.
Trevor Wheatley & Cosmo Dean (left)
Toronto-based artists Trevor Wheatley & Cosmo Dean work in collaboration to produce large-scale guerrilla signs and typographic art installations. The two have produced works for companies such as Nike, Stussy, Topshop, Converse, Nordstrom and OVO. Though simple in message, the instillation is striking, and the work and precision of Dean and Wheatley’s pieces can easily be seen and admired. From concept to execution, it is no surprise that the two are called upon by business giants for commercial employment, as their creations leave a lasting imprint on the minds of their viewers.
His ground paintings, murals, and installations have been commissioned throughout North America, also in South America, Europe, and Asia. He has showcased his work with the LAF, the Cirque du Soleil, the Tour de France and Banksy’s Can’s Festival, to name a few. His unique approach of blending art and activism can be seen in his collaborations with such organizations as Greenpeace and Amnesty International. His recognizable brand of street art has been featured and discussed in many of the leading publications on street art in the past two decades.
SUPERFLEX (above, on the right)
SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen and Rasmus Nielsen. With a diverse and complex practice, SUPERFLEX challenge the role of the artist in contemporary society and explores the nature of globalisation and systems of power. SUPERFLEX describe their artworks as tools – thereby suggesting multiple areas of application and use.
Gummy Gue (above)
Gummy Gue (Marco Mangione) is an artist who works mainly in the public space. He knows the graffiti writing environment in the early 2000s, investigating and experimenting with the expressive possibilities that will bring him to contemporary urban art. His work is an open dialogue with the architecture and the environment. Some of his works, such as Playground and Skatepark, have been recognized by magazines and platforms dedicated to design and architecture such as Domus, Designboom, AD Magazine, Architectural Record and many others.
Michael Lin (above)
Lin orchestrates monumental painting installations that re-conceptualize and reconfigure public spaces. Using patterns and designs appropriated from traditional Taiwanese textiles his works have been exhibited in major institutions and international Biennials around the world. Transforming the institutional architecture of the public museum, his unconventional paintings invite visitors to reconsider their usual perception of those spaces, and to become an integral part of the work, giving meaning to its potential as an area for interaction, encounter, and re-creation.
Historically artists have been at the forefront of cultural and societal issues initiating discussions and pushing boundaries. Art has the ability to create an emotional response, communicate complicated and opposing messages, drive social behaviours and create societal change. It also has the power to inspire communities during uncertain times and the current COVID-19 global pandemic is no exception.
We are facing an unprecedented period that requires all of us to be resilient. We want to take the opportunity to showcase various initiatives of the arts community during this time. We have been inspired by artists from around the world who have risen to the challenge to help people get away from it all, or to convey engaging and poignant messages.
The United Nations has called on creatives around the world to help stop the spread of misinformation and promote public health precautions. The UN has a global call out to artists and has created a library of artwork to educate, uplift and inspire. You can visit the library of artwork at UNCovid-19 Creative Content Hub.
Additionally UNESCO has launched the #ResiliArt movement, which, among other things, will consist of a series of global virtual debates with renowned artists and draw support for the cultural world throughout the crisis.
In Canada you can also check out the Social Distancing Festival started by Toronto artist Nick Green. The Social Distancing Festival is an online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of artists around the world who have been affected by the need for social distancing.
Because we can’t forget what the frontline workers are going through, you can also check out some work by artists Duyi Han who’s celebrating health workers with a fresco-inspired mural in a chapel.
Artist Thierry Geoffroy uses tents to speak to those who cannot go back to their homes in these times of confinement, because they are homeless or are refugees.
Finally, Til Kolare decided to use his digital art skills to portray the world’s current situation. He gives us a new look at some classic paintings through which the characters distance themselves from others and reveal the reality of a lot of people now: the loneliness and solitude.
We like to see that the creativity of the arts community is not locked in! They always find ways to spread messages through their art, and we will always support them.
This ongoing project is building on Les Printemps du Palais, which featured a variety of creations by local artists and artisans. Highlights of the spring 2019 event included public pianos, collaborative workspaces, creative ping-pong tables, and self-service libraries. The Palais Seasons is being introduced in an effort to keep this excitement going throughout the year. MASSIVart has put together a program that will once again showcase Montréal ingenuity.
“At MASSIVart, we have always believed that art and culture have the power to revitalize public spaces. We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to help Palais des congrès de Montréal bring more creativity to its premises. This iconic institution is a perfect showcase for the city’s creative talent, an open window into Montréal’s culture. In a place where the future of our society is constantly being reshaped, it is important to bring in local artists and creators to reimagine these public spaces as meeting places where surprise and the unexpected can be experienced. Just one more example of how art and culture can be compatible with public and commercial spaces!”
– Philippe Demers, Founder & Creative Director of MASSIVart.
The highlight of the program is without a doubt Seuils by internationally renowned Montréal artist Michel de Broin. Comprising a series of Montréal subway car doors, the art installation forms a path for people to follow. The experience recalls the digestive tract’s ingestion process—the installation breathes and swells to the rhythm of the traffic passing through it, creating a contrast between mechanical structure and organic movement. The work repurposes the door-opening components of the city’s original subway cars, first introduced for the Expo 67 world fair. Recently replaced by newer models, the now obsolete MR-63 subway cars have become an iconic part of Montréal’s public transit history. Seuils will give Palais visitors from all over the world a glimpse into that past.
“After the resounding success of last spring’s program, I am pleased to offer the Palais Seasons year-round to Montrealers and visitors alike. The artwork had an immediate impact on the atmosphere in our creative spaces and this second phase designed by MASSIVart promises to be just as exciting.”
– Robert Mercure, President and CEO of Palais des congrès de Montréal
Visit the Palais des congrès project page to learn more about what we’ve already implemented!
With a background in fine art, visual effects, puppetry and animation, LA-based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang crafts hybrid worlds rooted in Sinofuturist folklore, mysticism and spiritual realism. His list of collaborators include Icelandic artist Bjork, among others including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and FKA Twigs for whom Huang is Grammy-nominated for his fantasy epic “Cellophane.”
By using installation, printmaking or visual performance, Charline questions different notions such as ambivalence, otherness and porosity. Her work tries to dissolve boundaries between absence and presence, real and virtual, synthetic and organic. By integrating slow progressions, video becomes for her an hypnotic tool inviting the audience to feel oneself in the present. Her work has been presented in Paris, Brussels, Toronto and Montreal.
Rihab is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the subject of resolving interpersonal and personal emotional distress through a research-based practice. Her process starts with a need for resolving or translating an issue occurring in her personal life in order to move forward or create a sense of communal understanding.
Eli focuses on animation in potential forms and contexts as well as its representation and exploration in alternative media, including installation, light, sculpture, and video. Eli Schwanz has been profiled by Vice and was Exhibitionist in residence at the CBC. Exhibitions include Chromatic Festival, Gardiner Museum, Animocje Poland, Onsite Gallery, Ignite Gallery, Robert Kananaj Gallery as well as commissions for The Drake and Four Seasons Hotels.
Early bird tickets are on sale until February 29, visit www.agomassive.ca
MASSIVart joins forces with the Art Gallery of Ontario as a Creative Partner for their annual fundraising party AGO Massive, which will take place on Thursday April 16 in Toronto!
Our team of art curators had the chance to collaborate with the renowned gallery to select 4 artists that will be unveiled very soon.
Together for one night only, AGO Massive will feature immersive art installations, exciting performances and irresistible food and drink.
With this event, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s mission is perfectly aligned with our leitmotif which is to bring people together with art to see, experience and understand the world in new ways.
Early bird tickets are on sale, go buy yours on www.agomassive.ca
Philippe Demers, MASSIVart’s founder and global creative director, has been recognized as a “Creative Revolutionary who has lead the way for positive change” by CODAworx this week!
MASSIVart has been included in their list of 25 leaders who have taken a stand through their artwork creations and the spaces they transform.
“Representing a new breed of producers and curators, Philippe Demers, Founding Partner and CEO of MASSIVart, runs an international art consultancy agency in Montreal, Toronto, Mexico City, Shanghai, Paris, Dubai and Los Angeles. Working at the intersection of art and commerce, he collaborates with emerging and established artists, architects, developers, designers and other creatives on architectural design, original works of art, and art-driven cultural programs. His passionate support of innovative art programs have brought MASSIVart a who’s who of high-profile clients.”
As a part of a Public Art festival in the shopping centre Ruihong xintiandi Hall of the Moon in Shanghai, we worked with Beijing Modernsky Culture on a multimedia installation project. We collaborated with artist Christopher Schardt and Building180 agency to produce this large-scale outdoor immersive installation.
Constellation is a star-shaped canopy of 5,400 LED modules. The structure weighs 2000 kg, measures 26′ in diameter and hangs from a single point which will be displayed from November 26 to January 5, 2020.
In 1998, Christopher Schardt’s first Burning Man experience inspired him to apply his engineering and computer skills to art and he has participated in—and brought a major art project to—the event almost every year since. Now widely known for his LED sculptures, he is also the author of LED Lab, an app used by thousands of LED artists worldwide.
MASSIVart has worked in partnership with Chromatic and UltraSuperNew Gallery as well as FRAMED* and MUTEK JP to produce a digital exhibition featuring amazing video artworks by Canadian artist Sabrina Ratté and Japanese artist Yoshi Sodeoka.
We are proud of this cultural exchange between these talented Japanese and Canadian artists! The exhibition took place December 1st-12th, 2019 at the UltraSuperNew Gallery in Tokyo.
Artwork: Yoshi Sodeoka – Sprindrifer
Alejandro Cardoso, former Executive Chairman of Publicis LATAM, has been appointed as the Global CEO & Managing Partner MASSIVart Latin America. With 25+ years experience, Cardoso is considered one of the most influential advertising personalities in Latin America, he left his position in June to join the leadership team at MASSIVArt. Read the press release.
Alejandro, you have held several Executive positions in Mexico and abroad, including: Yahoo, Aeromexico, TBWA, JWT and over the last decade at Publicis Groupe as Executive Chairman for Latín America . Can you tell us about your career path?
Of course. I started as an actor. Mostly theater. To support myself I mixed theater acting with a paying job. So I found the opportunity in the hotel industry where I grew from bell man to CMO. It was a great journey. I quit acting and decided to be part of the advertising and marketing world. I decided to leave the CMO role and moved to the advertising world where I worked at TBWA, Leo Burnett and JWT. I then went back as a client as Aeroméxico’s Sales & Mktg Senior VP , then Citibank’s regional CMO and Yahoo’CEO. My last corporate venture was with Paris based Publicis Groupe where I held different regional roles, my last being Publicis Groupe Latin America Executive Chairman where I led all creative, digital, technology and media operations.
Why did you choose to join MASSIVart?
World class creative work, awesome team, a differentiated, relevant value proposition and huge business potential in Mexico and all around Latin America. I love art and marketing. This partnership brings it all together.
With your arrival, MASSIVart takes a new turn with the opening of a new office, the first in Latin America. What can we expect from MASSIVart Mexico for the coming months?
I aim only at producing spectacular work. Work that will make our competitors jealous, prospects mouths water, clients highly satisfied and the press praising our work. This will result in growth for MASSIVart Inc. and MASSIVart Mexico. I believe Mexico will be the 1st step into MASSIVart’s expansion in Latin America. In the next few years our ambition is to see a MASSIVart operation in the most important markets in the region, incorporating and leading the new trends in the Real Estate, Public Art, Museum Design and Marketing services industries.
How does what MASSIVart offers fit into Mexico’s cultural/art scene and is there a need for it?
It is the perfect fit. Mexico is proud of its cultural and artistic heritage. Mexico has been is and will be an influential country when it comes to art in its many expressions, be it in contemporary art, literature, architecture, music, film making , gastronomy and even in street traditional arts and crafts. Art is everywhere. Massivart will merge this strong cultural heritage of Mexico with a marketing value proposition that combines the best of Mexico with the best of Massivart Inc. it’s a win-win proposition.
Why did you choose to work in the art and culture space?
It is in my DNA. As said before I started my career as an actor. Culture and art have always been around me and has been a passion for me. My father was an actor for some time in his early years then became influential in the advertising industry . My wife is a sublime artist. Most of my family, including my daughter, have a background in the creative industry. So it is part of my DNA, I guess, and an important part of my life. Now, through Massivart, I can combine my passion for art and culture with my extensive business experience.
What kind of art speaks to you the most?
Hard to choose. I’m open to everything . Probably my mind is most blown away with contemporary art. Visual arts and innovative sculpture/art installations get my attention. However, I love cinematography, theater, dance, literature, photography and music. I am an admirer of daring, innovative architecture. I also express myself through cooking, which I consider artistic. Art and culture is a cool way of staying alive and connected.
Since 1992, the Applied Arts Awards have been an internationally recognized standard for creative excellence. It’s the only Canadian competition that recognizes the work of both professionals and students across the visual communications spectrum – covering everyone from image-makers to advertising creatives, marketing gurus to graphic designers.
We won an award with Iregular, Ædifica & iGotcha Media under Environmental/Signage Design category, for the project “RIVER”. This artwork was commissioned by Desjardins to permanently occupy their branch in downtown Montreal. “RIVER” is a 11 meters LED mesh sculpture and a software generated pattern. It listens to the environment to represent it evolving constantly and infinitely, day and night.
We interviewed Maxim Céré-Marcoux , the new CFO of MASSIVart.
1. Tell us a little about your background and past work experience?
I am born and raised in Montreal and studied accounting at Concordia University, after which I obtained by CPA title and left to work in San Francisco for a few years. I have worked in financial and accounting advisory for 6 years now, providing consulting to companies of various sizes, operating in different industries and with their respective set of opportunities and challenges. Little did I know that working at an art gallery as a student would spark an interest for the art world that sadly very few people with a background such as mine get to have.
2. What drew you to MASSIVart?
The magnetic energy and dedication of its partners, the ability of the agency to uniquely position its service offering by enhancing them with local and international art and its restless desire to grow without losing its originality.
3. What do you bring to MASSIVart?
I bring a set of skills in the financial and accounting fields coupled with a strong interest and fascination for art that I hope will allow me to help MASSIVart in a distinctive way to be well positioned to successfully seize opportunities as they emerge given the company’s continuing success and growth.
4. How does what MASSIVart offers fit into the global cultural/art scene and is there a need for it?
MASSIVart, in thriving to remain unique and differentiated, always delivers its services to undoubtedly exceed customer expectations but also actively engages our global community in making room for art in our everyday lives. MASSIVart plays a critical role in the art community by carefully curating the inputs of its creative process in a way to highlight the artistic community and further its exposure.
5. What would be your dream project and/or client?
I am especially excited to be joining the company at a time where so many growth and diversification opportunities have presented themselves and hope to assist the partner group by bringing another perspective to the table as well as a different set of skills which will hopefully help in determining which ones, if not all, to pursue, when and how.
6. Why did you choose to work in the art and culture space?
For quite some time now, my intention has been to transition to the artist/cultural field. Perhaps my interest stems from my personal lack of artistic creative energy. By working, even in a financial advisory capacity, in the artistic field, I feel like in my own way I contribute to furthering a community of creative spirits by other means than by creating art myself.
7. What kind of art speaks to you the most?
Regardless of the form it takes, art plays a crucial role in shaping public opinions and in initiating cultural shifts. Art speaks to me the most when it takes advantage of its unparalleled ability to touch people while at their most open state to purposefully expose a societal issue and compel awareness.
8. What about the future of art are you most looking forward to?
I think art is mankind’s most unique contribution to the world and will most likely play out to be the hardest concept for artificial intelligence to decypher and understand. While it will eventually be able to copy certain pieces and/or artists and perhaps even understand art by channeling the analysis of other art enthusiasts, it will never truly be able to innovate and create art in its true form, which entirely relies on the ingenuity of the human mind. I am most excited by the role art will play on artificial intelligence as it may be one of the only areas that does not show any potential for it to be completely overtaken.
MASSIVart is looking for artists, creators and professionals working in the digital sector. We are currently developing a directory to support more inclusive organizational practices and cultural diversity. This directory aims to provide a platform for professionals of the digital sector from visible minorities* through which they can be contacted for potential projects and job offers that match their expertise.
Therefore, we are launching a public campaign in cultural communities and digital networks to gather profiles interested in joining this directory. To do so, interested people are invited to complete the online form here.
Targeted digital sectors: Interactive media, Digital arts, Video games, Photographs, Visual arts, Design, Music, Podcasting, Sound recording, Animation, Film, Television
*Visible minorities are defined based on the Employment Equity Act definition as persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour and include Chinese, South Asian, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Southeast Asian, Arab, West Asian, Japanese, Korean, other visible minorities and multiple visible minorities. (Source: Statistics Canada)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bed-in, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic performance to promote peace that took place at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal.
MASSIVart worked with the prestigious 5-star hotel and Sid Lee Architecture to curate a unique experience for the famous Suite 1742 where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their Bed-In back in 1969.
In this very room, the couple stayed in bed for a week, receiving guests and conducting interviews with the media. On the last day of their performance they recorded the now-famous song “Give Peace A Chance” while still in bed.
Our team researched, produced and curated a 360 immersive throwback experience for the suite, allowing the guests to witness an exclusive glimpse of the hectic ambiance that took place in the room. The unique museum experience we developed includes three interactive devices, a virtual reality movie, an interactive archive cabinet displaying photos, archives, videos and heirloom objects, as well as commission artworks inspired by the performance.
We are extremely proud to have been able to revamp this historical space using art and culture to highlight the wonderful message of peace that John and Yoko delivered and that resonates just as much today as it did back in 1969.
Our team has always believed in the power of art to transform spaces and this story shows it can change lives too!
Kian Nojoumian, a talented 16 year old pianist who recently moved to Canada without his piano found joy in the new public pianos we recently installed at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal. While playing he caught the ear of everyone passing through with his own compositions. Maddy Samaddar visiting from New York, was passing through the space and was so moved by his exceptional talent she learned more about him and posted Kian’s story on Facebook. The post caught the attention of Jason Howland, Grammy-award winning musical theatre composer, playwrite, conductor and musical director & producer who has gifted Kian with a new piano to practice at home. Jason asked that he continue to play at the Palais and to spread joy to the visitors.
We’re so proud to have been a part of this project. Read more below:
Piano painted by Cyndie Belhumeur
Philippe Demers, CEO & Founding Partner of MASSIVart sits on the global arts grants jury for the renowned desert festival.
MASSIVart CEO & Founding Partner, Philippe Demers, was invited to be a part of the Burning Man Arts global grants committee for the renowned festival that takes place annually in the desert of Nevada, USA. Dedicated to funding artistic projects that are inspiring, interactive, accessible and most importantly, community-driven, the program funds various projects that become part of the festival and beyond. The arts grants offers up to $10,000 USD per project and has contributed over $750,000 USD to date, funding in total more than 160 projects from over 25 different countries.
The selection committee is comprised of nine members with various creative backgrounds. Having a cultural expert from Montreal (Canada) at the jury table for a global event of this size shines a spotlight on the country’s influence and expertise in the arts.
For over ten years, Philippe has been a part of the global cultural and artistic scene and looks forward to contributing to the development of these high-caliber artistic projects. “I am very happy to be able to participate in the selection of artists that will be receiving a grant. Supporting creators in their artistic process contributes not only to their growth, but also to the development of the artistic and cultural scene by making it more accessible. Platforms such as Burning Man also enables international discussion and makes it possible for relationships to form between people, cultures and nations.”
Philippe is deeply passionate and committed to the Montreal and international cultural community and through his experiences in cultural management and artistic production he continues to demonstrate his creativity and leadership skills whether in Canada or abroad. Demers also founded Chromatic, a non-profit festival aimed at promoting artistic entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation in Montréal. Prior to the Burning Man Arts global grants jury, Philippe was a part of other like-minded committees such as South x Southwest (SXSW) festival that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries from 2016 to 2017 and the Printemps Numérique, a non-profit organisation whose primary mission is to boost digital creation and creativity through various local activities from 2013 to 2015 as an art consultant and curator for both platforms.