Born in Hungary in 1928, Gabor Szilasi is one of Quebec's best-known living photographers. Soon after settling in Montreal in 1959, Szilasi began photographing the many art openings that he regularly attended with his wife, artist Doreen Lindsay. Over the next two decades he produced an extensive photographic record of the individuals who comprised Montreal's visual arts community, a number of whom would shape the history of art in Canada. Expanding on a solo exhibition of Szilasi's photographs that took place at the McCord Museum in 2017, the book features three essays, an interview, and over one hundred images that capture, with characteristic candour, perspicacity, and wit, some of the radical changes that affected Montreal's art world throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Szilasi's significant body of work - totalling approximately 3,600 negatives - provides a rare look at the social lives of Canadian artists during a time of great effervescence and creative possibility. Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal invites reflection on what has since been lost and gained. Brought to light over fifty years after they were taken, the images featured in this book reveal the centrality of one of Canada's leading photographers to the milieu he calls home.
Zoë Tousignant is associate curator of photography at the McCord Museum.