Musée McCord opened its new exhibit Musique – Le Québec de Charlebois à Arcade Fire, on display from May 30 to October 13, 2014. The exhibit explores the Quebec music scene from the 1960s to today.
In addition to some 100 songs and videos, the exhibition features almost 200 objects, including photos, posters, archival documents, album covers, manuscripts, costumes and accessories, guitars, instruments, and artefacts.
Three mini dresses from the McCord Museum’s Costume and Textiles collection are featured, including one by Rudi Gernreich from 1969.
The yé-yé era, record industry and birth of the star system are highlighted through artefacts that propelled and were witness to these transformations, including the increasingly ubiquitous television and portable record player.
Upon entering the Flights of Fancy zone, visitors are plunged into a completely different ambiance, one that illustrates through costumes and accessories the stand that artists have taken against conformity and taboos.
Breaking with tradition to boldly proclaim their individuality, these artists represent a
powerful culture rich in creativity and have propelled it onto the world stage. The first costume is one of Diane Dufresne’s iconic “theatre-dress” with puppets from 1986, created by Michel Robidas.
The exhibit features Joe Bocan’s dress that she wore underwater while filming the 1991 video for “Apocalypso.”
Another highlight is the black Versace dress worn by Céline Dion when she performed on the Plains of Abraham as part of Quebec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations in 2008.
Rufus Wainwright’s black cape from his 2010 tour was designed by Zaldy, and contrasts with Martha Wainwright’s white folk dress.
Patrick Watson’s megaphone suit built by Christian Pelletier for his 2009 show featured a portable rechargeable amplifier and five megaphones. Pierre Lapointe’s space costume with three sculls was designed by Marie Chantale Vaillancourt and LEB in 2008.
The Musical Milestones zone transports visitors to the big and small musical milestones that profoundly changed modern culture. A timeline tracks these memorable performances through the upheavals that marked the social evolution of Quebec.
The display features major events, such as L’Osstidcho (1968) and the epic duet by Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 2004.
More than 100 songs, meticulously chosen for their lyrics and connection to the themes of this ambitious exhibition, provide visitors with a brand new take on the recent history of Quebec.
Complementing the exhibit are posters and photos as well as a range of personal and shared music players and devices.
The exhibition was designed and created by the McCord Museum team.
An advisory committee is comprised of Sylvain Cormier, music columnist for Le Devoir; Sébastien Desrosiers, creator of the program Rock francophone on Radio-Canada’s Espace.mu; Félix B. Desfossés, Radio-Canada journalist and producer; Henri Goulet, lecturer in the Faculty of History, Université de Montréal; Benoit Migneault, Reference Director, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Martin Pâquet, professor in the Faculty of Historical Sciences, Université Laval; and Will Straw, Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University.