Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal)

On a Wednesday night, the Museum is slightly cheaper. Sort of. I say sort of, because for someone of my age, it is normally $23, Weds eve is $11.50. Simple, right? Not so fast – with that $23, you normally get access to the other galleries, but those are closed on a Wednesday evening. Price to enter if you want to go back some other time? $15. So if you have the time and inclination, pay the $23, remember it’s CAD, so more reasonable than the US (this is relevant if you have just come from the latter), and see the lot.

Calder exhibition poster

Still, one major exhibition may be enough, and if that’s what you want to see, this is the most cost effective. In case you are feeling guilty, they will ask if you want to donate as you pay, so you can make the price whatever you like (so long as it is a minimum of $11.50).

Montreal’s museum pricing is rather lovely – up to the age of 30, in many places you can get in for free. I like that, even though I don’t qualify. I can’t explain why that seems fine, when being able to get a working holiday visa only up to the age of 30 around the world seems less so, but still – good on you. Canada is just generally very civilised. On that note, apropos of nothing related to this post – US and UK airports, functional. Switching planes in Toronto – follow the sign to refreshments in the domestic terminal, and there is tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks, all free, more substantial stuff there to buy. It all adds to my general feeling that this place is one of the world’s best-kept secrets. In the US, the educated will nod when you mention socialism, and suggest “it isn’t a dirty word!”, but the propaganda has got to them. Here, they can actually discuss it.

Arbitrary measures of civilisation aside, any city with a well kept Fine Art museum has something going for it, and this is a fine one. I don’t know enough about Calder to offer commentary, so know just that I gleaned this from the exhibition: he invented the mobile, and introduced the idea of large-scale public whimsical sculptures. Wikipedia is likely to do a better job than I can manage. But I took some photos.

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