No. 274, Spring 2024

Publication: April 2024

As part of our editorial planning, we met as a committee to reflect on the themes to address in a future issue at a time when conversations about the Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) are becoming more sustained, both in the media[1] and in private discussions among our respective groups of colleagues. What we are seeing is that the art sector is concerned about the government and about the future of the MAC. Although such anxieties are not new, we feel that now is a good time to play our role as catalyst for ideas, activating a positive public dialogue by devoting a section of the magazine to the subject. If we could make one wish for the MAC’s future, what would it be? With this editorial action, we want to stimulate thought and debate and, above all, to provide ourselves with the means, as a social body, to dream of great cultural projects that are also societal projects. This is a way for us to explore, publicly and constructively, the social and political potentials of a museum devoted to contemporary art and of a national collection of artworks.

The articles in this section will explore the history of the MAC’s reason for being, make observations about the evolution of its role, and speculate on what it should become for current and future generations. How can we, as a society, fill and fully inhabit the spaces of museums? What are our expectations and hopes regarding the transformation of the MAC? Furthermore, what are the museum’s responsibilities toward society and, conversely, those of government and society toward their cultural and artistic institution?

Considering the institutional critique made by younger artists, what have we learned, and what can we still learn? How can we work, from this point, to formulate an institution with an audacious cultural vision that can also meet the needs and desires of our art and citizen communities? Other questions come to mind: Can we take inspiration from other art organizations, both local and elsewhere – to celebrate the successes and learn from the failures of major cultural infrastructure development projects? Does the initial impetus that led to the foundation of the MAC, which was to provide Québec artists with a place for the reception of contemporary art, respond to today’s needs? Beyond the site itself, what should an institution such as the MAC have under its roof? How should the history of the museum be considered in order to anticipate its future and that of the cultural life that animates it?

All people interested in submitting work for this section are invited to submit a note of intention by email. The articles may take the form of essays and be submitted by professionals from the arts and culture field or a related field (urban planning, heritage, or sociology, for example) or by philosophers or literary writers who wish to imagine the future of the institution and offer paths for solutions and analysis. Rather than impressionistic and general texts, we will favour those that target a specific angle and in-depth reflection. No article with a punitive tone or written in a context of the appearance of conflict of interest or a situation of direct conflict of interest will be considered.

All submissions for the section must include a note of intention related to the theme, including the anticipated subject and the intended angle of approach (between 350 and 500 words), three excerpts of previous writings (published or not), and a short (25 words) biography. The documents must be provided in a single PDF named as follows: “NOM_appel_DT274, and sent to before October 29, 2023. We will contact the authors chosen, and the final articles, following a commission previously received from the editor, must be delivered in December 2023 or January 2024. The section will be published in the spring 2024 issue.

Supplementary information regarding what is defined, in this context, as a conflict of interest:

  • Being an employee of the MAC or having left its employ less than one year ago
  • Being in the immediate family or the spouse of a MAC employee
  • Having taken part in the MAC’s decision-making structures in the last two years
  • Being an employee of an organization or institution, whose functions involve a direct partnership or direct business relationship with the MAC
  • Having participated in a working committee or acted as an external consultant for the MAC within the last year
  • Being an artist or curator and proposing one’s own practice as subject

In parallel with the call for pitches, Vie des arts is conducting a public survey to gather the wishes that we would like to address to the museum. The survey is in French only. Click here to participate.