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Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything

Sep 17, 2020–Jan 24, 2021

A world-renowned novelist, poet, and singer/songwriter who inspired generations of writers, musicians, and artists, Leonard Cohen (Montréal 1934 – Los Angeles 2016) eloquently expressed the imperfection of the human condition, giving voice to what it means to be fully alert to the complexities and desires of both body and soul. For decades, he tirelessly supplied the world with melancholy and urgent observations on the state of the human heart, in songs such as “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” and “Hallelujah.” With equal parts gravitas and grace, Cohen teased out a startlingly inventive and singular language, depicting both an exalted spirituality and an earthly sexuality. His interweaving of the sacred and the profane, of mystery and accessibility, was such a compelling combination it became seared into memory.

Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything is the first exhibition entirely devoted to the imagination and legacy of the influential singer/songwriter, man of letters, and global icon from Montréal, Canada. The exhibition includes commissioned artworks by a range of international artists who have been inspired by Cohen’s style and recurring themes in his work, a video projection showcasing Cohen’s own drawings, and an innovative multimedia gallery where visitors can hear previously unreleased covers of Cohen’s songs by musicians such as Lou Doillon; Feist; Moby; and The National with Sufjan Stevens, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Richard Reed Parry, among others.

Organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything is curated by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator at the MAC, and Victor Shiffman, Co-Curator.

The San Francisco presentation is organized for The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) by Heidi Rabben, Senior Curator, and Justin Limoges, Chief Preparator and Exhibition Designer.

Participating Artists

Kara Blake
Candice Breitz
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
Christophe Chassol
Daily Tous Les Jours
Tacita Dean
Kota Ezawa
George Fok
Ari Folman
Jon Rafman
zach richter
Taryn Simon

Supporters

Lead Support for The Contemporary Jewish Museum's presentation of Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything is generously provided by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

The CJM thanks Maribelle and Stephen Leavitt, and The Bernard Osher Foundation for supporting the exhibition.

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, a state corporation funded by the Gouvernement du Québec, thanks Leonard Cohen for his support of the exhibition. Robert Kory, Adam Cohen, and Lorca Cohen, provided invaluable assistance to the successful organization of this project.

The MAC acknowledges the support of CBC/Radio-Canada and the National Film Board of Canada, as well as Sony Music and Sony ATV. For the exhibition’s presentation in San Francisco, the MAC also extends its thanks to the Azrieli Foundation.

Image Credit

Header image: Courtesy of Old Ideas, LLC