For the average McGill student, being situated in a cultural hotbed like Montréal can be both overwhelming and exciting. With midterms and obligations creeping up on us, we find ourselves stretched out in every direction, and it can be difficult to appreciate the city’s monuments or know which of them are worthwhile when we decide to take that much-needed break from our coursework. The following list of art galleries in Montréal will assist you in discovering some local gems. Each gallery features bodies of work by emerging and established international and locally-based artists for McGill students to explore on their downtime. (Likewise, it is to be noted, all of the following have re-opened since the COVID-19 lockdown, or they are planning to reopen this summer.)
Location: 1380 Sherbrooke St W
The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts boasts multiple art collections and temporary exhibitions ranging from the middle ages to the present and in a variety of mediums like sculpture, photography, multimedia, paintings, and design. There is something for everyone here, regardless of whether you find Renaissance art “passé” or modern art unsophisticated. The museum has seen extraordinary growth in the past few years and is Quebec’s largest art museum in terms of gallery space. The museum also offers a quiet and contemplative atmosphere for students to study, and a playground to wander through once you have whittled your pencil down to a stub.
Location: 185 Saint-Catherine St W
A proud vessel for an assortment of multimedia projects such as video installations, contemporary performance art, as well as monumental and minimalistic sculptures. The Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, more affectionately addressed as the MAC, is a cutting-edge collection of exhibitions by a number of keen-eyed curators. In constant transformation, the MAC never latches onto one installation for too long, and it can be relied upon to consistently provide a fresh batch of artists to admire at the conception of each new season.
Location: 4040 St Laurent Blvd
Founded in 2007, The Fridge Door Gallery is widely celebrated as McGill University’s original student-run gallery of student-made art. The title alludes to the common practice of families decorating their fridges with their children’s art. The gallery expresses the experiences, imaginations, and tribulations of McGill’s students. It is a worthwhile stop for any member of this university because it invites you into the inner machinations of the student population. The Fridge Door Gallery also includes an editorial team, merchandising, workshops, panels, and bi-annual vernissages.
Location: 451 Rue Saint Jean
One of the Old Port’s many hidden gems; Fondation Phi, established in 2007, is a non-profit gallery in two of Montréal’s heritage buildings that offers two to three major exhibitions each year, as well as a series of public events, collaborative projects, and an education program. Highly versatile and committed to its venture to be a venue that allows greater accessibility to art, the gallery is ideal for students with a refined or budding interest in the arts. Currently hosting Eva & Franco Mattes’ “What Has Been Seen” exhibition, which seeks to anatomize the boundaries of art and the internet, the Mattes’ avant-garde and disturbing work reflects the Internet generation with a provocative, political approach and is certainly worth the visit.