La Capitale presents London Calling at Musée de la civilisation
Québec City, May 16, 2018 – The Beatles, David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, Twiggy, Jo Gordon, Paul Smith—these are just some of the trendsetters and pioneers involved in the creative movements that drove London’s post-war renaissance beginning in the 1950s. Québec City’s Musée de la civilisation is devoting a world-class exhibition to the bustling cultural capital from May 17, 2018, to March 10, 2019.
The London Calling Exhibition
The Museum decided to showcase the creativity of London, from the post-war period through to today. Since 1950, Britain’s capital has given birth to numerous movements, currents, and fashions that have influenced generation upon generation and been an ongoing inspiration for creators all around the globe. Even today, Londoners continue to surprise, charm, and sometimes even shock us with their creative energy!
On the floor, a map of London guides visitors. In the center of the room, a model of the “City of London” serves as a jumping-off point from which visitors can explore the city’s creative districts: Chelsea, the birthplace of the miniskirt and the punk movement; Soho, a study in excess, eccentricity, and most of all, contrasts; Abbey Road, where Beatlemania lives on; and the East End, revitalized by the father of pop art, Papa Pop Hamilton, who influenced generations of artists like the Young British Artists in the 1990s. Not to mention venues and institutions like the Whitechapel Gallery, Southbank Centre, and the Royal Academy of Arts, indissociable from all this artistic activity. London is a city with a dual nature, oscillating between a love of the monarchy—and of punk music.
In these digital times, Musée de la civilisation is offering an enhanced visitor experience with its new My MCQ app. Visitors can tap into a wealth of additional information thanks to narration by passionate “Londonphile” Geneviève Borne, the exhibition spokesperson and voice of the city, and through augmented reality that brings numerous objects to life. For example, pointing your device at the Sex Pistols undershirt activates a sample of the group’s frenzied punk rock, walking past works by John Lennon triggers “Give Peace a Chance,” and the photo of famed model Twiggy comes to life with 1950s pictograms while a Tom Jones hit plays in the background. Even the authentic London cab on loan from the St-Alexandre Pub shares some of its secrets thanks to the app technology!
“ This exhibition shows that Musée de la civilisation has lost none of the sense of adventure that has characterized its work over the past 30 years. London Calling is very much a reflection of the city’s off-the-wall sensibility in that it blends a mix of tradition and modernity to create something both fresh and surprising! It’s also a unique opportunity for the general public to discover—through works of art, clothing, and furniture—the remarkable influence London creators have had worldwide, including right here in Québec. ”
Stéphan La Roche, Executive Director, Musée de la civilisation
“ It is always a pleasure for La Capitale to help support the MCQ’s activities. This museum presents major cultural events, while remaining down to earth and reaching the widest possible audience. London Calling is the fourth MCQ exhibition that our company has presented. The museum of civilization and our company are both committed to remaining accessible and always in touch with people. That’s what sparks our interest in helping out. ”
Jean St-Gelais, President and Chief Executive Officer of La Capitale.
- Prestigious lenders to the exhibition include the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Gallery, Museum of London, British Council Collection, Arts Council Collection, and Museum of Liverpool;
- Flagship items on display include:
- A three-part mural by the father of British abstract art, Ben Nicholson (1894–1982), created for the Festival of Britain;
- Two signed lithograph prints by John Lennon, and one of his Beatles-era outfits;
- A waistcoat, suit, and tea set created by Sir Paul Smith, renowned for his stripes and for reinventing the men’s suit;
- A Teddy Boy suit designed by Hardy Amies, official dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II;
- A Mark II chair designed by Robin Day. A genuine “Design for all” icon, the Mark II has sold in the millions worldwide;
- Clothes by Vivienne Westwood, including the famous t-shirt worn by Sex Pistols lead singer Johnny Rotten;
- A 1967 London cab lent by the St-Alexandre Pub;
- A scale model (1:5) of a Routemaster double-decker bus, a timeless symbol of the British capital.
- Just as visitors take a taxi or bus to visit London, they can take a “taxi” or “bus” tour of the exhibition. The “taxi” tour lasts 15 minutes, while the “bus” tour runs 30 minutes (see press release);
- There will be a “house band” in residence in the inner courtyard all summer long. A lecture and film series will also be programmed next fall (see press release);
- For the duration of the exhibition, the Museum bell tower has been transformed into Big Ben and a London double-decker bus festooned in exhibition colors will drive the streets of Québec City;
- Starting June 21, a virtual installation in the guise of a phone booth will provide an opportunity to meet key players at the Quebec Conference at three different locations: British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill at Musée de la civilisation, President Theodore Roosevelt at Château Frontenac, and Lieutenant-Commander Stanislas Déry at the Québec Naval Museum;
- A British-inspired menu will be featured at the Café 47 bistro and in the inner courtyard;
- Four videos were produced in London with Geneviève Borne. She introduces the city by appealing to the senses: See London, Hear London, Taste London, and Touch London. Watch her on: www.youtube.com/user/mcqpromo;
- The Museum shop and its satellite location will feature exclusive London products throughout the course of the exhibition, offering a wealth of cool and unusual souvenir and gift ideas;
- A walking tour itinerary of ten sites put together by historian David Mendel shows you how British influences have left their mark on Québec City.
London Calling is an exhibition designed and produced by Musée de la civilisation and presented by La Capitale Financial Group with the participation of Air Transat, Québec City Tourism, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, the official exhibition hotel, and Le Soleil newspaper.
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