Cross on Mount Royal | Last week, the mayor of Montreal Mr. Denis Coderre ordered the immediate interruption of the temporary installation of the sculpture “Cross on Mount Royal”, a replica of Pierre Ayot’s 1976 sculpture, recalling in a laying position the one erected on the top of the mountain. The original artwork had been destroyed on Mayor Drapeau’s order, with all other art works of Corridart, the major installation of artworks commissioned by the Montreal Olympic Games Art and Culture Committee, the day before the official opening of the Game. This replica was authorized by the borough of Plateau Mont-Royal mayor and its city councillor for culture and it was commissioned by the Montreal Art Council, Montreal Public art Office and by Caisse Populaire de la Ville de Montréal. Our colleague Nicolas Mavrikakis, the curator of the Pierre Ayot retrospective, displayed across the city in several cultural places, is one of the main organizer of this project. Site selection was fulfilling the wish of the artist to install his work at the foot of the mountain and the committee wants to draw attention to the heritage character of the site and neighbouring historic buildings on this issue in regards to their forthcoming conversion. The interruption had been called for under the pretext that its religious content could offend some people. Under the media pressure and thanks to skilful negotiation, the mayor gave finally his full approval to the project.
However, art is not always politically correct. As such events have been recursive in Montreal and in Quebec, in the past and recently, we have to remain vigilant. Defending freedom of expression and condemning any attack on it, particularly in the political field, are central to AICA-Canada and AICA-International. On Monday September 27, AICA-Canada president, Ninon Gauthier, one of its director Claire Moeder and several members from Montreal attended the press conference organized by the organizing committee of the retrospective Io support their action.
We are happy with the positive issue of this plight. Nevertheless, we would appreciate your advice concerning how we could address such serious matter, may it happens again in the future, beyond writing the mayor, contacting newspapers, and discussing it on our website.
Link to this project fundraiser: