Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Writing's on the Wall . . . in Montreal

My last night here, I'm back in my hotel room before 8 because the author reading I was so looking forward to turned out to have taken place this morning -- I assumed that 7:45 would be this evening, forgetting that the French system prevails here, so 7:45 is morning, 19:45 evening. Damn! (Lawrence Hill is the novelist I missed seeing -- you may have read his The Book of Negroes.) So I'll use the freed-up time to post some more photos -- which you can look at while I'm flying back home tomorrow.
As you can see, these are snaps of graffitistreet art/murals in a wide variety of styles, all found the other day as I walked through various neighbourhoods. While they give the streets an edge you might not have guessed at from the photos in my last two posts, I think the graffiti adds to, rather than detracts from, the city's appearance. But as you might know from my Paris posts over the past few years, I'm a fan of graffitisuch art, especially when it's as clever and energetic and just plain sumptuous as this. (Edited to reflect Pseu's useful and thoughtful comments below -- I obviously didn't think enough about what I'd actually collected when I posted yesterday -- I had remembered more examples of smaller-scale and more spontaneous graffiti (tags all over one side of the "French blue" corner bookstore Hostess liked, for example) -- than what actually ended up in the post.
The photo above and the two following are all of the same wall -- if you know Montreal at all, you'll recognize the cross on top of the mont in the section below.

The photo above is of the credits accompanying the mural seen below. You can read more here (Scroll down for English) about the organization which is using Street/Public Art to achieve a range of social goals -- rather cool that Benjamin Moore paints are involved -- presumably if you loved some of these combinations, you could head into Benjamin Moore and find out how to get a living room going . . .

And here's another one -- I love the mix of older buildings with their architectural ornamentation as a certain claim to order and propriety, and then the competing assertions of chaos in the colour and surrealism of the murals. And against that sky? Mmmmmm, yummy!

From a distance so you can really appreciate the interplay with the cloud-mottled sky above and the street life below.

As I say, I'll delay posting this so that you'll read it as I'm flying home tomorrow. I've loved my visit to Montreal, although I hadn't quite factored how much energy and time would go to conference activities. I'd love to be here (with Pater -- or some girlfriends, or daughters, or sisters) for a few days of museum and gallery visits, shopping, checking out some foodie spots -- another time.
I'll have to hit the ground running at home -- I'm part of a search committee at work and we have a stack of heavy-duty CVs to get through for short-listing so that's Thursday gone. And then I have to turn around and get back to Vanc'r for Friday because we are being trusted with Nola for the whole weekend while her Mom and Dad head to an out-of-town wedding. We're going to sub-contract one evening because we have opera tix (Butterfly!!), but otherwise it will just be us and Nola, fun!
I still have a few more Montreal shots, though, which I'll try to show you before the week's out -- then I'll be in full-on planning mode for our trip to London/Portugal/Paris which happens mid-June. Can you see those calendar days getting blown off, littering the floor?!!!

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