Montreal: La Ville des Beaux Arts

This is not a museum. This is a metro station. Seriously.

On a recent trip to Montreal, I discovered something I’d never before experienced: a museum that I hated.  It’s true–the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal sucks.  Sorry.  I’m sure there are people who love it, but I did not.  It was difficult to navigate and lacked any sort of map or guide to help you plan or appreciate your visit.  I spent maybe one frustrated hour there before heading back out on the street.

Which is exactly where you should go in Montreal if you are looking for art. It’s ok that the Musee des Beaux Arts was a bust.  Montreal doesn’t need a museum because Montreal sort of isa museum.  From the purposely designed murals on the sides of buildings–along with more traditional graffiti that is equally stunning–to the various installations in the metro stations, art is all around you in Montreal.  And it runs the spectrum from ultra modern to classical; in less than twenty minutes you can walk from the stunning stone architecture of old town to the festive facade of the gay village or the colorful murals of the latin quarter.  Take, for example, the following ‘exhibits’:

A glimpse of art in from inside the train.

Walking through 'the bad part of town'. Yeah--not so awful.

I refuse to look at this as destruction of property.

A mural in the Latin Quarter, near my new favorite bar.

More 'decorative arts' in the metro.

Honestly, I did not walk around and try to take photos of public art.  This blog post wasn’t planned or researched–it came out of the realization that I had something like thirty awesome photos like the ones above.  Which brings me to my final example of how free public art is better than the collection at my new least-favorite museum–photography is most certainly allowed.  Sorry Musee des Beaux Arts.  You just don’t hold a candle to what can be found outside your bare white walls.

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