Meet Montreal’s new contemporary art fair

Montreal has a brand-new art fair in town: Art Contemporain Pour Tous.

Marion Hanna Oster

Work by Marion Hanna Oster at Art Contemporain Pour Tous

It’s art fair season in Montreal, with the prominent Papier art fair going on this weekend in Mile End’s Complexe de Gaspé, bringing artists, galleries, buyers and art lovers from near and far to converge on the city. The fair, now in its eighth year, is the flagship event organized by AGAC, the Montreal-based Association of Contemporary Art Galleries.

Detail of work by Speedy Graphito at Art Contemporain Pour Tous
Detail of work by Speedy Graphito at Art Contemporain Pour Tous

This year, art lovers will have even more reason to visit Montreal because for the first time, a brand-new art fair will be launched, running at the same time as Papier just a few blocks away in Little Italy. Dubbed Art Contemporain Pour Tous (ACPT) and featuring works by artists affiliated with 11 Montreal contemporary art galleries, the new fair is somewhat of a spinoff from Papier, intended to be a complementary event—the organizers are quick to dispel any notion of rivalry with their colleagues at Papier.

Art Contemporain Pour Tous is organized by four Montreal galleries, all of whom are also members of AGAC: Éric Devlin, Yves Laroche, Robert Poulin and Lacerte Art contemporain. The idea behind the new fair is right there in the title: a contemporary art fair that offers something for everyone, including opportunities for practicing artists who work with mediums that don’t fit within the mandate of Papier.

Work by Bart Hanna (of Images Boréales Gallery) at Art Contemporain Pour Tous
Work by Bart Hanna (of Images Boréales Gallery) at Art Contemporain Pour Tous

Matt Namour is the owner of Images Boréales, a gallery that specializes in contemporary and traditional Inuit art with a special focus on young, emerging artists. Since most of the artists he works with create sculptures, they don’t have an opportunity to present their work at Papier, which is dedicated exclusively to works on paper.

“That was one of the biggest reasons that the new fair was created,” Namour explains. “Contemporary art is very diverse. You have sculpture, all forms of painting—we’re trying to be as diverse as possible and offering as many forms of contemporary art as possible.”

In addition to sculpture and painting, visitors to ACPT can expect to find engraving, photography, glassworks and street art (including original work by Banksy) and more.

Namour tells me that the organizers already have big plans for the future of the ACPT, with the goal of creating a flagship, destination art fair for Montreal.

“We have 11 galleries this year, and there were many more who wanted to participate, but we didn’t have the room this year. Next year we’re looking to use a much bigger space. We’re going to grow at an exponential rate and people will be coming to town especially for this fair.

“We’re very excited to bring the world of art together under one fair. Everyone who loves any kind of art, you should be able to find something that really attracts you and speaks to you at Art Contemporain Pour Tous.” ■


Art Contemporain Pour Tous opens with a vernissage tonight, Thursday April 23 from 5–9 p.m. at 6355 St-Laurent, and runs daily until Sunday, April 26. Visit the fair’s website here for more information.