Art and Galleries
Maybe it’s something to do with the city’s schizophrenic nature but, away from the bureaucrats and the businesses, Brussels harbours a vital and vibrant art scene. The city’s home to a swathe of independently run, not-for-profit workspaces, ad hoc galleries and annual fairs. Artists (from across Europe) are drawn to the city’s cheap rents, its inspiring mix of the global and the local, and the healthy mix of commerce and creativity: you can actually afford to buy stuff here.
Galleries aren’t prohibitively expensive, like Paris, or like Berlin – seemingly unconcerned with selling anything much at all. In the past decade almost 50 galleries have opened. Add to that, the city’s thrilling annual art fair, Art Brussels (April, www.artbrussels.com) and the eye-popping Triennial, Un-Scene (next up in 2018), and you’ve got a city with art, not Euro-politics, at its core.
When a Brooklyn gallery opens in your town, you know you must be doing something right. This achingly cool space represents cutting edge and emerging artists from both sides of the pond.
Avenue Louise 292, 1000 Bruxelles
Housed in a former brewery, this one-stop contemporary art venue presents temporary exhibitions by national and international artists. Art and architecture take centre stage, but the programme finds space for exploring much else besides. A good place to start any Brussels art tour.
Av. Van Volxemlaan 354, 1190 Brussels
This non-profit exhibitions space pretty much sets the template for all that’s good about Brussels’ re-animated arts scene right now. There’s always a fizzing sense of energy here – not least due to the gallery’s surefooted curation of must-see new work.
Kluisstraat – rue de l’Ermitage 86, B-1050 Brussels
Art and fashion combine in this exciting new space co-run by Scottish duo, fashion designer Beca Lipscombe and the artist Lucy McKenzie. Atelier E.B, their practice, places both disciplines on an equal footing, creating something much more interesting than the sum of its parts.
Rue de la Régence, Regentschapsstraat 67, 1000 Brussels
Always on-the-money curatorial collective, Komplot kickstart collaborative projects ranging from exhibitions to films, books and an annual magazine yearbook. Within their gallery home lies a warren of artist studios – most of which you can visit.
Brussels scored a bit of a coup when it tempted Antwerp-based collective, NICC into its orbit. The venerable nonprofit organization holds exhibitions on a two-monthly basis, in a 24/7 display window not far from Brussels South railway station. With monthly artist talks and activities across the city, this is art at its most inviting.
NICC Rue Lambert Crickx Straat, 1 1070 Brussels
Edgy and uncompromising work forms the central strand of Parisian gallerist Almine Rech’s Brussels gallery. Less is more here, as Rech’s penchant for minimalist work is to the fore. Almine’s reputation for spotting the next big things is legendary.
Rue de l’Abbaye 20, 1050 Brussels
Located at the heart of Brussels, this home to emerging talent favours the conceptual and the installation. It’s the hub of an active young art community, and features strongly in the merry-go-round of international art fairs.
Rue du Canal 13, 1000 Brussels
The big guns are out at the Walter Vanhaerents gallery – home to Vanhaerent’s private art collection. From the 1960s to the present, the gallery finds space for Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman among lesser-known but equally arresting work by modern Belgian artists.
Rue Anneessens 29, 1000 Brussels