Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
A world-renowned novelist, poet, and singer/songwriter who inspired generations of writers, musicians, and artists, Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) was an extraordinary poet of 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 tenaciously 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 works 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 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.
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
Daily Tous Les Jours
Organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), the exhibition is curated by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator at the MAC, and Victor Shiffman, Co-Curator. The New York presentation is coordinated for the Jewish Museum by Kelly Taxter, Barnett and Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art, and Ruth Beesch, Senior Deputy Director, Programs & Strategic Initiatives. The exhibition is designed by New Affiliates LLC (Jaffer Kolb, Ivi Diamantopoulou). Acoustic consulting by ARUP. Exhibition graphics designed by Topos Graphics.
Following its New York showing, the exhibition will tour to Kunstforeningen GL STRAND and Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark (October 23, 2019 – March 8, 2020) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (September 17, 2020 – January 3, 2021).
The presentation of Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything at the Jewish Museum is made possible by Audrey and Zygi Wilf, Jane and Mark Wilf, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Goldie and David Blanksteen Foundation, The TD Charitable Foundation, The Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc., Jane and Reuben Leibowitz, Nili Lotan, Rita and Charles Bronfman, Wendy Fisher, Goldman Sonnenfeldt Foundation, Brice and Helen Marden, Wexler Dermatology PC, and other generous donors.
Additional support is provided through The Skirball Fund for American Jewish Life Exhibitions, the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art, and the Joan Rosenbaum Exhibition Endowment.
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) 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 is pleased to be associated with local institutional partners who have generously contributed to the production of this exhibition. The MAC extends its warm thanks to CBC/Radio-Canada, the exhibition presenter and creator of exclusive content for the exhibition. CBC/Radio-Canada also made its archives available at no charge to the artists creating work for this project.
Co-curatorial partners provided specific support in the realization of this exhibition. The MAC wishes to thank the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), which also made their full archives available free-of charge to the artists. The MAC and NFB are co-curators and coproducers of a work of art with the Daily tous les jours collective.
The MAC thanks Sony Music and Sony ATV for granting permission to use the songs and archival video material of Leonard Cohen to the artists and for the purpose of the exhibition.
For the exhibition's presentation in New York, the MAC is also grateful for the support of the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada, and the Azrieli Foundation/Fondation Azrieli.