Brussels, of course, has institutions such as the Wiels Contemporary Arts Centre, the Argos, the Bozar and other fine galleries, including the Baronian Fancey and Aeroplastic showing a variety of the Belgian and international art.
Meanwhile, when it comes to where the country’s leading artists live and work, it is usually not Brussels, but
rather Antwerp (Luc Tuymans pictured, Jan Fabre, and Panamarenko) and Ghent (Wim Delvoye, Michaël Borremans), or even abroad (Francis Alÿs, in Mexico). Of course, considering that Ghent or Antwerp are less than an hour from Brussels, it does not really seem to matter where these artists are based, from the point of view of their visibility to the audience.
What does matter, however, is that Antwerp after several decades is still a point of reference for progressive art in Europe, and Ghent has also been noted for its support of the cutting edge in contemporary art.
Top Galleries In Ghent
The Museum for Hedendaagse Kunst was established in 1975 as the first major institution to focus on contemporary art. Its director, Jan Hoet, was already a highly reputed art expert and curator at the time, and has become a legend in the international history of art for the past 40 years, curating, among many others, the 1992 edition of the Documenta in Kassel, Germany.
Hoet’s excellence in his field has been officially recognized, such as becoming Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Republic, and being knighted by King Albert II of Belgium in 2000.
The service that earned him such distinction included being the visionary leader of the Hedendaagse and its successor, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, SMAK),
which opened in 1999. He held the post of director until 2003 and subsequently became artistic director of the Marta museum in Herford (Germany).
Hoet in Hungary
In 1980, Hoet travelled to Hungary, and selected work by six artists that, in his view, represented the directions, ideas, issues and positions of the avant-garde of that country, using forms of art that were readily accessible to the Western public. This exhibition served as the basis for Joy and Disaster, a
major show of the work of eight of Hungary`s prominent artists today that were on view at SMAK until early this month.
Besides Joy and Disaster, current, highly recommended exhibitions include German sculptor Michael Sailstorfer’s Raum und Zeit (July 3) and Agua Caliente/Hot Water, Spanish artist Carlos Rodríguez-Méndez’s huge minimal sculpture in the Kunst Nu room.