Founded in 1984 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1987, esse arts + opinions is a bilingual contemporary art magazine devoted to diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices, as well as all forms of social, in-situ, and performative interventions. Promoting critical discourse and debate on contemporary art in relation with its socio-cultural contexts, esse provides a forum for artists and authors to explore the experimental and daring, and to question dominant values and concepts central to contemporary art.
The magazine is committed to the evolution and analysis of contemporary art and multi-disciplinary practices. Renowned for the quality and depth of its articles and critical essays, each edition presents a unique thematic dossier, artist portfolios, numerous in-depth articles highlighting the latest developments on the local and international arts scene, reviews of current exhibitions, events, and publications, as well as an advertising section. A finalist for the Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal, esse arts + opinions has been honoured with Grafika, Coupe, Applied Arts, and SODEP awards for its graphic design, as well as a SODEP prize for its editorial content.
In addition to its magazine publishing activities, Les éditions Esse is actively engaged in the arts milieu, organizing symposia on art and publishing works on art theory and the art market (Vendu–Sold catalogues 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013). Esse has also produced a collection of twelve artist stamps for Canada Post.
Esse receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.