MoCo: into the heart of contemporary art in Montpellier

The MoCo moves to the Montcalm Hotel in Montpellier

As of 29 June 2019, contemporary art is taking root in Montpellier with the opening of the MoCo Hotel des Collections, a new contemporary art centre at the renovated Montcalm hotel. Here’s a sneak preview.

The Montcalm hotel, a beautiful 19th-century residence near the train station and not far from Place de la Comédie, is about to become the new showcase of contemporary art in Montpellier. From 29 June it will host public and private collections from around the world. Renamed the Hotel des Collections, this space will be the flagship of the MoCo (for contemporary Montpellier) in collaboration with two existing places in the city: the Panacea, an exhibition centre dedicated to emerging artists, and the École Supérieure des Beaux- Arts.

HQ of contemporary art

Within this unique trio, the Hotel des Collections aims to offer a creative collective or individual proposal to foundations, museums, companies and even solo artists.

Revamped to become the headquarters of contemporary art, the Montcalm hotel is hidden in a vast garden that keeps it away from the noise of the city on rue de la République. There is a 1,500m² exhibition space, a bar-restaurant and a bookshop running seasonal events.

Architect Philippe Chambaretta has retained the sober, graphic facade of the building while adding a contemporary edge with a cube of light crowning the former officers’ mess. Artist Bertrand Lavier has redesigned the garden. Conceived as a world map, it will see plant species flourish from all continents.

From art to the restaurant

On the ground floor of the museum, vaulted ceilings, red columns and a black-and-white checkered marble floor retain grandeur – while the decor of the upper floors is suitably more neutral to suit the display of the works.

In addition to its exhibitions, the Hotel des Collections will invite artists to take over its bar-restaurant and grounds. Revealed in preview, the installation of the restaurant is set to dazzle visitors. ‘The Unplayed Notes Factory’, a work by Loris Gréaus presented at the Venice Biennale in 2017, will decorate the ceiling of the future bar with 1,200 unique, hand-blown filament lamps, in reference to the glassworks on the island of Murano.

For its inaugural exhibition, the MoCo will unveil a prestigious and intimate collection by Japanese entrepreneur Yasuharu Ishikawa. Initiated in 2011 and including almost 50 major museum works of our time (sculptures, videos, installations and photographs), she questions the relation of the spectator to the piece of art. On Kawara, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Tino Sehgal and Pierre Huyghes are among the 20 international artists represented at this first exhibition, curated by influential Yuko Hasegawa, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT) in Tokyo.

The MoCo will put on three exhibitions a year, each lasting approximately three months. Following Ishikawa will be works from a public Russian collection. See you on 29 June!

MoCo in Montpellier, Occitanie