8 Must-See Museum Shows in Belgium During Art Brussels

Artsy Editorial
Apr 23, 2015 2:29AM

This year marks the 33rd edition of Art Brussels. As collectors, dealers, and art lovers from around the world flock to the booming art city this weekend, we point to the top eight exhibitions to see on your visit to Belgium. 

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: Work/Travail/Arbeid at WIELS

WIELS, one of the leading contemporary art institutions in Belgium, presents the avant-garde dancer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s “Work/Travail/Arbeid.” In this nine-week-long exhibition, De Keersmaeker (who you may know from when Beyoncé appropriated her dance moves in 2011) transforms the former beer brewery into a dynamic space where choreography takes center stage. De Keersmaeker’s ambitious piece arrives at an opportune time, as she will also be honored with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale this year.

“Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: Work/Travail/Arbeid” is on view Mar. 20–May 17, 2015.

WIELS is located at Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354, Brussels, open from 11 am to 6 pm Wed.–Sun., and 11 am to 9 pm every first and third Wed. of the month. Adults €8; students (18+), teachers, seniors, and groups of 10 or more €5; students (12–18) and school groups €3; under 12 and first Wed. of the month free admission.

Icon(s) at Maison Particulière


A one-of-a-kind nonprofit art center, Maison Particulière exhibits works from private collections in an inviting and beautiful mansion in Brussels’s Châtelain neighborhood. This spring’s exhibition “Icon(s)” presents works that range from traditional representations of religious idols to more contemporary interpretations of what icons means in today’s art and culture. 

“Icon(s)” is on view Apr. 23–Jul. 5, 2015. 

Maison Particulière is located at Rue du Châtelain 49, Brussels, open from 11 am to 6 pm Tues.–Sun. Adults €10; members and students (under 26) free admission. 

Faces Then andFaces Now at Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR)

Dedicated to bringing a breadth of art to Brussels, BOZAR presents two complementary exhibitions on the timeless nature of portraiture. “Faces Then” showcases the mastery of 16th-century Northern European portraiture, while “Faces Now” brings together works by contemporary European artists whose photography poses larger questions of place and identity.

“Faces Then: Renaissance Portraits from the Low Countries” and “Faces Now: European Portrait Photography since 1990” are on view Feb. 6–May 17, 2015.

The Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) is located at Rue Ravenstein 23, Brussels, open from 11 am to 6 pm Tues.–Sun., and until 9 pm Thurs.“Faces Now”/“Faces Then” standard rate €8/10; 18–25, 67+, and groups €6/10; 12–18 €4/6; 6–12 €2; under 6 free admission. 

Gao Xingjian. Retrospectiveat Musée d’Ixelles

Gao Xingjian’s retrospective celebrates the oeuvre of the prolific and multitalented painter, playwright, director, filmmaker, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist. Gao’s lush monochromatic compositions of contemporary existence have been internationally recognized for their highly expressive quality, and breathe new life into the tradition of Chinese ink painting that has spanned millenia. 

“Gao Xingjian. Retrospective” is on view Feb. 26–May 31, 2015. 

Musée d’Ixelles is located at Rue Jean Van Volsem 71, Ixelles, open from 9:30 am to 5 pm Tues–Sun. Adults 8; students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more €5; 18 and under free admission. 

Larry Sultanat S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art

Belgium’s first museum solely devoted to contemporary art, S.M.A.K. continues its record as a pioneering institution with the first solo exhibition of Larry Sultan in the country. The late conceptual photographer’s range of subjects—from intimate and enigmatic portraits of his parents in their Southern California home in “Pictures from Home” (1982–92) to his compilation of found images from the Cold War era in “Evidence” (1975–77), created with Mike Mandel—illustrates Sultan’s significant role in modern photography. 

“Larry Sultan” is on view Mar. 14–May 24, 2015. 

S.M.A.K. is located at Jan Hoetplein 1, Ghent, open from 10 am to 6 pm Tues.–Sun. Adults €8; groups of up to 15 and seniors (65+) €6; under 26 €2; 18 and under free admission.

Jan Fabre: Stigmata, Actions & Performances 1976–2013 at M HKA – Museum of Modern Art Antwerp 

Opening this Friday April 24th is the sequel to an exhibition displayed at the Louvre in 2008. Curated by Germano Celant and first presented at MAXXI in Rome in 2013, this second iteration at M HKA showcases a comprehensive look at performance artist Jan Fabre’s oeuvre, encompassing sculpture, costumes, film and video recordings, and photographs. Also on view is Ricardo Brey’s first comprehensive exhibition, “Fuel to the fire,” which includes numerous large-scale installations, some of which are on view for the first time in nearly 30 years. 

“Jan Fabre: Stigmata, Actions & Performances 1976–2013” is on view Apr. 24–Jul. 26, 2015. 

“Ricardo Brey: Fuel to the fire” is on view Feb. 6–May 10, 2015.

M HKA is located at Leuvenstraat 32, Antwerp, open from 11 am to 6 pm Tues.–Wed. and Fri.–Sun., and from 11 am to 9 pm Thurs. Adults €8; 60+, groups of 10 or more and students €4; under 26 and Thurs. from 6 to 9 pm €1; under 13 free admission. 

Peter Buggenhout at Museum Leuven

Museum Leuven presents Belgium’s first major solo exhibition of artist Peter Buggenhout. Known for his room-size installation sculptures made from found and industrial objects, Buggenhout intentionally covers his pieces with a layer of dust to eschew any potential for symbolism, altering his aggregates of these everyday items into stunning pieces of form and color.

“Peter Buggenhout” is on view Mar. 12–May 31, 2015. 

Museum Leuven is located at Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, Leuven, open 11 am to 6 pm Mon.–Tues. and Fri.–Sun, and from 11 am to 10 pm Thurs. Adults €12; under 26 €5; under 12 free admission. 

On Kawara - 1966at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens

In addition to a retrospective currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum, On Kawara is the focus of another stellar exhibition at Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle. The late conceptual artist’s first solo museum exhibition in Belgium since his 1975 show at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, “On Kawara - 1966” focuses on the crucial turning point in Kawara’s career, when he started the iconic “Today” series (1966-2013), and features a number of works on view to the public for the first time ever.

“On Kawara - 1966” is on view Mar. 29–Jun. 14, 2015.

Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens is located at Museumlaan 14, Deurle, open from 10 am to 5 pm Tues.–Sun. Adults €7; 65+, students under 26, and groups of 10 or more €5; students (12-18) and school groups €2; under 12 free admission.

Janet Yoon

Explore Art Brussels 2015 on Artsy.

Artsy Editorial