Courtesy of Michael Putnam/Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal

Cohen’s legacy is returning to his hometown.

Jess McHugh
November 07, 2017

While many U.S. fans of acclaimed singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen remember the artist for the years he spent in Los Angeles and New York City, Cohen was a Canadian through and through. He grew up in Montreal, taking frequent walks in Mont Royal, and was buried not far from his childhood home.

Cohen’s legacy is now returning to his home city for an exhibit at the Musée d’art Contemporain in Montreal, exploring the themes of his work, titled “A Crack in Everything.”

“He’s profoundly identified with Montreal,” John Zeppetelli, director and chief curator for the museum told Travel + Leisure. “I think it was the particularity of this bi-cultural city, and then his own status within that as a poet, as an intellectual.”

The exhibit opens Wednesday and is set to run through April 9, 2018. It includes works in various mediums from artists across the world, including Jenny Holzer, Candice Breitz, and Kara Blake. The exhibition aims to explore some of the great themes of Cohen’s work, including darkness, intimacy, and love.

The songwriter produced a vast body of work throughout his life, and he is best known for hits such as “Bird on a Wire” and “Hallelujah,” the latter of which has been covered by dozens of other musicians inspired by the song’s lyrical sadness.

The title of the exhibition appears to reference the song “Anthem,” off his 1992 album The Future. Lyrics from “Anthem” read:

“There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

Courtesy of the National Film Board/Kara Blake/Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal

Cohen authorized the exhibit before his death, and Zeppetelli and his team began planning two years ago. Following the musician’s death in November 2016, the show has taken on an aspect of memorial, as the opening will occur just two days after the one-year anniversary of his death.

Other commemorative events are set to take place around Montreal for the one-year anniversary of his death. His son, Adam Cohen, organized a tribute concert Monday, with appearances from Seth Rogen, Courtney Love, and Coeur de Pirate. The concert was praised for a particularly moving duet between Adam and Lana del Rey, covering “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.

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