Corridart (occasionally, though incorrectly stylized as Corrid'Art) was an almost 6-km-long public exhibit of monumental installation artwork that took place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Sherbrooke Street for about six days in the summer of 1976. It was intended to be the principal arts and cultural component of the 1976 Summer Olympics, but was destroyed illegally on the direct order of the city's executive council, itself having been told to do so by then mayor Jean Drapeau. The exhibit showcased approximately 60 artists, and the collective efforts of hundreds more in the creation of 16 installations, with additional stages at two points along the street to host hundreds of performances throughout the duration of the games. It was considered an act of outright censorship at the time and by some measures may stand as the single largest episode of artistic censorship in Canadian history.
Corridart included artworks that engaged with the history of Montreal as well as the social and economic problems that were then current within the city, province, country and world, reflecting the difficulties in striking a societal balance between increasing globalization and the desire for a national identity. Sherbrooke Street was chosen because it provided the most direct link between the urban core and the Olympic Park in the East End of Montreal, but also because it is a symbolic street in the city's history, acting as both the dividing line between rich and poor (especially before the mid-20th century), while simultaneously uniting multiple communities across two thirds of the island. Moreover, it was a street caught in the middle of Montreal's metamorphosis, as the artists were additionally commenting on the Drapeau administration's approval of the demolition of many heritage properties on that storied street.
Unfortunately Corridart never officially opened to the public. In a controversial decision, Mayor Jean Drapeau had the entire exhibit torn down on July 13, two days before the Olympic games began.
Most of the works were destroyed beyond repair or recognition, leading to a legal battle that lasted for ten years and saw very little compensation awarded to the artists. The total cost in 1976 dollars for the project was a scant $386,000 (about $1.5 million in 2011 Canadian dollars), and it was considered an expensive mistake by city officials who ironically masterminded the most costly Olympiad of the 20th century.
- Concordia University Archives
- Curran, Peggy (19 September 2012). "Melvin Charney: A towering figure in Montreal architecture". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Noakes, Taylor C. "The Mayor Who Wouldn't Let Art Ruin His Olympics". Citylab. Atlantic Media. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- Canadian Art: interview with Melvin Charney
- Corridart revisited at Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery
- À propos de l'affaire Corridart documentary film excerpt (in French)