Recap: An Insider’s Guide To Art Brussels

Art Brussels is just around the corner, from Friday the 22nd until Sunday 24th of April. Follow this insider’s guide to make sure you don’t miss the best events in and around the fair. See the most respected and the obvious choices but also step off the beaten track to explore the new, exciting and emerging art scenes presented during the week.

Start your day with some classics. Really, It should be illegal to come to Brussels and not do a pit-stop at the Magritte Museum to get a fix of Belgian Surrealist Art. Next door, at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, you can also enjoy The Fall of Icarus by Bruegel and the Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David as well as Andres Serrano’s exhibition which is on until August.

Daniel Buren is also next door at the Bozar. With the classics covered, let’s move on.

Daniel Buren

Next, grab a bite at Le Vieux St Martin, a traditional and celebrated Belgian restaurant where you can have croquettes and fries (always go local) whilst surrounded by works from CoBrA artist Alechinsky or the Belgian artist Walter Swennen.

In the afternoon, head to the Attic a space that promotes young artists, creating an echo, or a conversation, between both respected and emerging artists..

This week, they are displaying work by young artist Apolonia Sokol alongside historical work of the famous photographer Walker Evans.

The Attic

Alternatively you can pass by la Loge, one of the youngest Brussels non-profit spaces, located in a former Masonic temple, to see the show Pastoral Myths.

La Loge

If you are looking for one of the city’s hidden gems, you can visit the Buuren museum. The house, built in 1924, is located in a residential area of Brussels, and decorated as a total work of art to present their collection in a rich Art Deco interior.

Heading into the late afternoon prepare yourself for a hectic schedule. We suggest you pick three of the following. The Charles Riva Collection with Un Voyage en Mer, proposes a selection of Belgian artists, Luciano Fabro is presented at Michel Szwajcer, Ugo Rondinone at Gladstone Gallery and Rudolf Stingel at Vedovi.

If you want to see younger artists, Marina Pinsky, who has just had a solo show at Kunsthalle Basel, is showing at Clearing as well and Cynthia Daignault at Stems Gallery, which is only a few months old.

Rush to the Wiels, the ‘kunsthal’ of Brussels, in the morning. The exhibitions of Edith Dekyndt and Vincent Meesen (who were represented at the Belgian Pavilion at the last Venice Biennale) might not be the most exciting but the museum is a must.

The Independent Art Fair, the American hipster fair that has now also landed in Brussels, will also open on Wednesday with galleries such as Gavin Brown, David Zwirner, Chantal Crousel, or Canada Gallery.

For lunch, go to La Marie Joseph for shrimp croquettes and enjoy the works of  Dutch artist Karel Appel.

A must see is the collection display of Frederic de Goldschmidt’s which includes several emerging Belgian artists at Not Really Really. The exhibition is presented in a former mental health facility stripped down into a raw space to present 73 artists through a maze of rooms sprawling over four floors.

Wednesday’s evening of openings will feature Made in Oven, a show of ceramics curated by Florist superstar Thierry Boutemy at Rodolphe Janssen, Josh Smith at Xavier Hufkens, Oscar Tuazon at Dependance, and Jean Prouve and Takis at Patinoire Royale.

Art Brussels opens today and it’s fair to say that after a few hours, you might want to check out something different at ‘The Wrong Side” of the art market fair at Poppositions. “Conceived as an experiment with the art fair format, POPPOSITIONS is an assembly of galleries and project spaces. Changing location within Brussels for each edition, it aims to occupy a critical position during Art Brussels.”  

The exhibition of Jan Hoet, an emblematic Belgian contemporary figure, is also on display at l’Hotel de la Poste.

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Marie Winckler

Marie Winckler works as a Freelance journalist. A Belgian emigre of French heritage, she attended the Sorbonne before going on to write for the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the Independent. She binges on art, literature and football. Partial to a Belgian joke.  Instagram: @mariewww | Twitter: @mariewww