Getting acquainted with Leonard Cohen

December 12, 2022 Art Gallery of Ontario

I first heard of Leonard Cohen in my late twenties through a musician friend while we were on tour, but it wasn't until several years later that I started to understand his work. To really get it, you know?

It all happened during the wee hours of the morning at a then-friend's place. Our heads were spinning after a night out. He was laying on the carpet. I was melting into the couch.

Then, this magical guitar started playing in the background and a man's voice told the story of a woman who feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China and who is half-crazy but that's why you want to be with her. 

I knew basically nothing about Cohen yet the melody and the lyrics of Suzanne pierced my mind and that feeling has stayed with me ever since.

A lot has been told about Cohen's poetry, his music, his lovers. Yet, I was gladly surprised to visit the AGO and discover more about the person behind the artist through his objects, notes, drawings and photographs in the new show: Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows

About the show:

An enduring artistic force, Canadian novelist, poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) is renowned the world over for his meditations on beauty, death, loss and the human heart.

The first museum exhibition to present the holdings of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust, Everybody Knows immerses visitors in the many facets of Cohen’s creative life. Rare concert footage and archival materials, including musical instruments, notebooks, lyrics and letters are featured alongside photographs, drawing, and digital art created by Cohen across several decades.

Two large-scale multimedia installations, on loan from the Musée d’art contemporain in Montréal, highlight Cohen’s singular voice, music and stage presence.

Curated by Julian Cox, the AGO’s Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto with the exceptional support of the Leonard Cohen Family Trust and Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows
On view at the AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario
December 7, 2022 - April 10, 2023


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