Discover the decorative arts and design

Log in

What to See

A listing of some of the decorative arts exhibits from coast to coast. This section is updated every few months - please check individual links for the latest exhibition news if needed.


Royal Ontario Museum

The Cloth that Changed the World

April 4, 2020 - September 27, 2020

Made with novel cotton, vivid colours and exuberant design, the painted and printed cottons of India changed human history; they revolutionized art, fashion and science wherever they went around the globe. Featuring pieces from the Museum’s world-renowned collection, this ROM original exhibition explores however thousands of years India’s artisans have created, perfected and innovated these printed and painted multicoloured cotton fabrics to fashion the body, honour divinities, and beautify palaces and homes.

Presenting the fascinating stories behind the people who made, commissioned, shipped, sold and ultimately used these pieces, The Cloth that Changed the World considers India’s textile innovations and their influences on art, trade and industry around the world in places as far as Cairo, Japan, Sumatra, London, and Montreal. They were the luxury fabric of their day, coveted by all, and one of the great inventions that drew foreigners to India’s shores hungry for more. Discover how through trade-routes, encounters, and exchange, these cloths connected cultures and,quite literally, changed the world. 


Musée d’art de Joliette

Joliette, QC

Permanent Installation

Claudie Gagnon:  Collections, Suspended Time

Introduced as part of the Politique d’intégration desarts à l’architecture, Collections, Suspended Time is by multidisciplinary artist Claudie Gagnon. Fixed above the staircase that leads to the museum’s roof, the piece is composed by a hundred or so glass and crystal objects. Hung from a polished stainless steel plaque, the installation is enhanced by a striking mirror effect. At dusk, Collections, Suspended Time remains visible from the street, a special lightning designed accordingly. When seen from far, the piece produces a sparkling myriad that glimmers according to the natural light. Admired from close, one can take in all its finer details.

A mise en abyme of the museum’s primary function, Collections, Suspended Time assembles hundreds of second-hand objects that remind us of ancient artifacts found in curiosity cabinets from another time, gathered from different fields including science and the arts. As if they were frozen in time, these objects form an imaginative and playful entity that taps into the imagination.


Jean-Claude Poitras: Fashion and Inspiration

October 24, 2019 - April 26, 2020

The exhibition sheds light on the creative world of Montreal designer Jean-Claude Poitras. It takes a look at the man who left his mark on prêt-à-porter in Montreal and the rest of Canada over the course of a prolific career spanning more than three decades, from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Clothing, objects, archival material and multimedia displays reveal the designer’s personality and his three major sources of inspiration: family and religion, muses and film, and travel.

This joint presentation of the McCord Museum and the Musée de la civilisation will be shown at the Musée de la civilisation from June 20 to September 15, 2019, then at the McCord Museum from October 24, 2019, to April 26, 2020.

Decorative Art Exhibitions Abroad

External links:

"London Calling", an exhibition on the British rock band The Clash with instruments and objects belonging to the musicians, Museum of London

"Invisible Men" (Largest exhibition on British men's fashion), Westminster Menswear Archive, London

The World of Anna Sui, Museum of Arts and Design, Paris

Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Marquise Arconati Visconti, femme libre et mécène d’exception, December 2019 to March 15, 2020, MAD Museum, Paris

Le 61 rue de Monceau, l’autre hôtel Camondo, October 17, 2019 to March 15, 2020, MAD Museum, Paris

Decorative Art + Design News

External links:

"Canada no longer has a Design Museum"

AH Wilkens to offer historically significant military and political letters from 18th- & 19th-century Quebec, including documents signed by King Louis XIV to the first Canadian born Baron of New France (de Longueuil), September 17, 2019

The Monteal Museum of Fine Arts has appointed Jennifer Laurent as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts

"A documentary by Vancouver-based graphic designer Greg Durrell explores the surprisingly rich history behind thenation’s postwar design culture"

Royal Canadian Mint Unveils New Loonie Marking LGBTQ2 Progress

"Remembering Henry Hawley: Cleveland Museum of Art decorative arts curator with an amazing eye for excellence" 

The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts/ Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs was formed, with the generous support
of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, to provide a forum for all those interested in the decorative arts.
© 2020 Canadian Society of Decorative Arts / Cercle canadien des arts décoratifs