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Melvin Charney

Visual Arts

Montrealer Melvin Charney’s relationship with art and architecture can be traced back to confrontations over urban development, with Montréal plus ou moins, a 1972 exhibition that looked at quality of life after the massive changes of that era, and Corridart, an eight-kilometre-long outdoor exhibit of artworks during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Corridart. With large facades that ran along Sherbrooke from Atwater to the Olympic Stadium, it was dismantled two days before the games began. Mayor Jean Drapeau alleged the exhibit contravened city bylaws but some believe it was torn down because certain pieces criticized the city. Since that time, the rest of the art world has been more receptive than Drapeau, with venues as prestigious as the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kasel inviting Charney to exhibit. In Ottawa, he created the half-block long, Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, and, in Montreal, the celebrated CCA Garden, a public space across from the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The sculpture garden, peering over a highway, makes use of a scarred and ignored urban space, a subject Charney has often explored as both an artist and theorist. (PF)