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MONTREAL, Oct. 24, 2023 /CNW/ - The Musée d'art contemporain (MAC) is proud to host the North American premiere of the acclaimed exhibition Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot's Russia a first museum survey of the feminist art collective Pussy Riot. Drawing from a decade of activism, assembled by Pussy Riot member Maria (alias Masha) Alyokhina, the exhibition will be on view at the MAC at Place Ville-Marie from October 25, 2023, to March 10, 2024.


Formed in Moscow in 2011, Pussy Riot is a collective that produces provocative, politically engaged performances, music, and videos. The collective has become an iconic symbol of opposition against Russian President Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian rule. This exhibition offers a rich testimony of their non-violent actions as well as the reactions of the authorities. Indeed, Pussy Riot has transformed the repressive apparatus of an authoritarian state into a creative partner, boldly playing with fire.

The exhibition Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot's Russia was born of a meeting in Moscow between Maria Alyokhina, a member of the collective Pussy Riot and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, who describes the feminist art collective's work as having a "non-consensual relationship with the state".

Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot's Russia was originally presented at Reykjavik's Kling & Bang art space, now touring the exhibition. Created by Maria Alyokhina and curated by Ragnar Kjartansson, Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir and Dorothee Maria Kirch the exhibition is presented and organized at the MAC by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator. Maria Alyokhina is both a Russian conceptual artist and a political activist. The members of Pussy Riot were awarded the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace in 2012 and also received the Hannah Arendt Prize in 2014. They have also been honoured with the Woody Guthrie Award in 2023, which recognizes the spirit of resistance through music, literature, dance, or other forms of art.

"Pussy Riot's actions courageously confront fascism and, through their open, non-violent, humorous defiance to injustice, inspire us all", says John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC.

Cultural events and activities surrounding the exhibition

Pussy Riot's cultural impact and activism will be highlighted through a series of events organized around the exhibition Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot's Russia.

OPENING LECTURE - A conversation between Maria Alyokhina and Ragnar Kjartansson, an internationally renowned artist and initiator of the original exhibition. The discussion will be moderated by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC on October 25, 2023, at 6 pm at the Gesù. https://macm.org/en/activities/opening-lecture-velvet-terrorism-pussy-riots-russia/

EXHIBITION TOUR WITH MARIA ALYOKHINA AND JOHN ZEPPETELLI ? A visit with the activist Maria Alyokhina and the MAC's Director and Chief Curator, John Zeppetelli on October 26, 2023, at 5:30 pm at the MAC Place Ville Marie. The conversation, which will cover the collective's actions presented in the exhibition, will be followed by an exchange with the audience. https://macm.org/en/activities/exhibition-tour-with-maria-alyokhina-and-john-zeppetelli/

LIVE PERFORMANCE: RIOT DAYS - The MAC and POP Montréal co-present a live performance by Pussy Riot entitled RIOT DAYS ? An activist multimedia experience, with special guest Liza Anne happening on November 1, 2023, at 8 pm at the Théâtre Rialto. https://macm.org/en/activities/riot-days/

NEW! Espace M - A space for participation and exchange

This new initiative - as of October 25 - encourages reflection on the various issues raised by the exhibition Velvet Terrorism: Pussy Riot's Russia. Espace M features participatory zones that invite visitors to express themselves and ask questions.

"Espace M embodies the MAC's drive to stimulate dialogue and debate on today's pressing social challenges. It's our renewed and reimagined platform for deeper, more meaningful engagement with our audiences," comments Yaël Filipovic, MAC's Director of Education and Engagement. Espace M a collaboration between the social design studio Ohisse, and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal team, will host a variety of events from film screenings to performances. While we'll unveil the full program soon, here's a sneak peek into the inaugural workshops at Espace M:

Facilitation: A facilitator will be on hand to discuss the themes and topics presented in the exhibition engaging with visitors and addressing any questions. Bilingual sessions are available without prior booking during the following times. Thursday and Friday: 4pm - 7pm / Saturday and Sunday: 2pm - 5pm.

Show Off Your Voice: Workshop for adults and teens: Drawing inspiration from Pussy Riot's activism, this workshop encourages participants to express themselves. In this collective workshop which leads to the creation of a mural, we invite participants to reflect on local, national and international issues. Saturday November 4 and Saturday December 2: 10.30am - 12.30pm or 1.30pm - 3.30pm. https://macm.org/en/activities/show-off-your-voice-workshop-for-adults-and-teens/

About Pussy Riot

The performances, music, and videos created by the feminist punk art collective Pussy Riot, formed in Moscow in 2011, are characterized by provocative and politically charged lyrics and actions. Guided by the dictum that all protest art should be "desperate, sudden, and joyous," Pussy Riot has courageously, and with a wry smile, shone a light on the brutal injustices that the Russian state inflicts on its citizens through political imprisonment, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial executions, mysterious poisonings, aggressive surveillance, and other means of suppressing critical voices.


The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It also benefits from the financial support of the Government of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. We would also like to express our deep gratitude to the MAC Foundation and to all our donors and partners, who play an indispensable role in the furthering our mission.

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

As it approaches its 60th anniversary to be celebrated in 2024, the MAC is more aware than ever of its fundamental role as a cultural pillar: to make known, promote and preserve contemporary Quebec art, and to ensure a presence for international contemporary art through acquisitions, exhibitions and other activities. In its continued commitment to offer more to the public, to communities and to the cultural milieu, the MAC is undergoing a significant transformation of its building at Place des Arts, to re-imagine this site as an even more decisive force. In the meantime, the MAC has temporarily relocated its activities to Place Ville Marie, a landmark in Montreal's business district. The MAC will continue to offer public programs as well as a range of educational services and community outreach activities at PVM and other sites across the metropolis.


SOURCE Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

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