An all-Canadian gallery turned International, Helen and Jacques de Bellefeuille strive to showcase emerging Canadian talent alongside higher-tier artists from around the globe. Artists like Damien Hirst and Sophie Ryder have seen the walls of de Bellefeuille. It’s become such an important space in the city, that in 2014 they took over a location across the street from the original gallery, dedicating it to 6,500 square feet of contemporary art.
Founded by the International Convention of Graffiti Under Pressure, Freshpaint Gallery delivers exactly what it’s name evokes. All in the name of promoting urban culture, the exhibition space and special events aim to educate and engage patrons about the unique world of street art. Alongside the gallery, the group takes beautification into its own hands, creating art and temporary installations in vacant spaces around the city.
Fonderie Darling is a unique visual arts centre under the umbrella of Montreal’s Quarter Ephemere, a group which reclaims abandoned industrial buildings in the city and converts the spaces into art venues. Their mission is to increase awareness of local art while at the same time drawing attention to these desolate urban spaces. Fonderie Darling is part art gallery, part artists studio block, and all heart.
Come for the architecture, stay for the art. The pieces on display at this contemporary gallery may be modern, but the walls around it are anything but. The building—which now houses some of the best Canadian and international contemporary works in the city—was once a sprawling shipyard, built in 1846 by Augustin Cantin. Right on the scenic Lachine Canal in Griffintown, sail away on the tides of some truly impressive art, in an equally impressive space.
Located in the heart of the city, Station 16 pushes the boundaries of contemporary art, showcasing works with a definitively urban core. From street art and graffiti to printmaking to design, they exhibit the works of both local and international artists whose works might not have a home in more traditional galleries. Station 16 gallery and its sister printshop are part of LNDMRK, the guys behind the Mural festival and Saintwoods, so you know they’re cool.
One of the oldest underground music venues in the city whose stage was once graced by Nirvana. Take in the various art installations, visit the design faculty at UQAM, and get a crash course on all things graffiti.
The diminutive, artist-run Articule dedicates itself to “socially engaged art” is more concerned with pushing buttons than pleasing patrons. “There’s not much of a market in Montreal, so there’s lots of space for experimentation,” said programming coordinator Julie Tremble, sitting in a cheerfully cluttered office behind Articule’s 900-square-foot exhibit space. “Even commercial galleries do things that look like they won’t sell.”
DHC aims to present some of the most compelling art of our time from around the world.” But the immaculate white-walled gallery spaces occupy three floors of a century-old building, unjustly remains one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets. Privately funded, it never charges admission.
A onetime cookie factory and commercial washery spread over 15,000 square feet, Parisian Laundry was repurposed in 2005 to house a local magnate’s art collection; Jeanie Riddle has upped its cred with a smart roster of emerging Canadian artists and New York stars such as Kalup Linzy.