Friday, September 3, 2010

"The Illuminated Crowd": Montreal

One of the most enlightening public art works I know is "The Illuminated Crowd," in Montreal. Permanently located along McGill College Avenue, the sculpture is flanked by the tall glass-blue BNP Bank Tower.

Created in 1985 by Raymond Mason, the imminently disturbing work shows a larger-than-life-size crowd facing light—illumination brought by some cataclysmic event (likely the latest 9.6% U.S. unemployment rate).

The 66 faces react with a gamut of human emotions: hope, hilarity, rowdiness, disorder, violence, irritation, fear, illness, murder and, as we move to the back of the fiberglass figures, death." Fun!

I took these picolas during two separate trips up north: one in 2009, the other in 2007 (with rain on the statue). Every time I'm there, I stop to see the "Crowd," wondering if Celine might be hiding in there somewhere.