Hallelujah! Jenny Holzer, Tacita Dean, and Others Pay Tribute to Leonard Cohen in Montreal

Jenny Holzer’s For Leonard Cohen (2017). Installation View at Silo no. 5, Montréal Photo: George Fok. Eight months ago, artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller got a big break. They had been trying for about a year to create a work of art about Leonard Cohen, who died last November, for an upcoming exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal . But they couldn’t find the right recordings and the piece “wasn’t working how we wanted,” Cardiff says. They had envisioned a kind of interactive sound machine that would allow the public to hear one of Cohen’s poems each time they pressed a key on a keyboard. After months of frustration came a surprise intervention: Cohen’s manager gave the artists access to sound files of Cohen reading nearly 200 poems from his collection Book of Longing, which he recorded himself. The recordings had never been published and they felt surprisingly intimate. “It was like opening a magic box,” Cardiff tells artnet News. “You can hear his stomach rumbling [and] planes going over his studio.” Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s The Poetry Machine (2017). Courtesy of Luhring Augustine, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Koyanagi Gallery, […]

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