10 things to do during Art Brussels

 This weekend’s all about art in Brussels as the 31st edition of the internationally acclaimed fair Art Brussels rolls into town. Featuring quite a few newbies plus a new director, the country’s seminal art happening is set to be a stomper and Brussels will be abuzz with art lovers from all over the globe. We’ve had a look at what’s going on over the weekend to help you along with your Art Brussels experience, and here’s an artful selection of activities that includes everything from off-fairs to parties and openings. Have fun. 

1. Poppositions

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Satellite fairs are booming around the world, and Brussels is no exception. Apart from Slick, Art Brussels is now also accompanied by Poppositions for the second year running. It’s a challenging off-fair that questions the art market and the structure of the established fairs; don’t expect strolling through generic white booths but rather a voyage of discovery through daring, in situ works by Karen Vermeren, whose studio we recently visited, Egon Van Herreweghe and Dominique Somers from the Belgian Outlandish collective, and Abilene’s Laura Porter and Valentin Lewandowski.  “We want to make an artistic statement,” says founder Liv Vaisberg. Expect the unexpected. And: get your hands on a fresh copy of The Word Magazine at Théophile’s Papers‘ pop-up shop.

From 18 to 21 April
Brass, Avenue Van Volxemlaan 364 – 1190 Brussels
www.poppositions.com

2. Victor Hunt at MAD

Brussels’ Mode and Design Center welcomes Brussels design dealer Victor Hunt (of Throwaway project fame) this weekend, for a pop-up shop that features works from glass virtuoso Sylvain Willenz, Tom Price and Belgian rising design star Maarten De Ceulaer, whose works recently caught the eye of British design bible Wallpaper. Plus, there’ll be a book corner set up by indie bookshop Theophile’s Papers where you can get your hands on a fresh copy of The Word Magazine.

Until 21 April
Mad Brussels Mode And Design Center, Rue d’Aloststraat 7-11 – 1000 Brussels
www.madbrussels.be

3. Slick

Of Brussels two off-fairs, Poppositions and Slick, Poppositions is the more alternative of the two: it’s all about questioning the art market and putting the focus on non-profit art organisations. On the other hand, Slick is fertile ground for both younger and established galleries from Brussels’ Joye Gallery to Amsterdam’s Flatland Gallery, and Japan’s Gallery Satoru. In its second edition, the satellite fair creates an exciting mix of contemporary art, and a great platform for discovering new talent from all over the world.

From 19 to 21 April
Wild Gallery, Rue du Charroi 11 Gerijstraat 11 – 1190 Brussels
www.slickartfair.com

4. Art Brussels – The Party

Brussels nightlife queen Lady Jane is responsible for some the best soirées that the capital has to offer, thanks to her infamous Catclub parties, and she’ been asked once again to take the reigns of the Art Brussels’ official party. Located in a new spectacular venue, Ixelles’ neoclassical Solvay building, the programme includes an installation by Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda and features none other than Kim Ann Foxmann behind the decks, frontwoman of Hercules and Love Affair and – according to Pitchfork – an excellent house and techno DJ.

20 April
Solvay building, Rue Prince Albert 44 Prins Albertstraat – 1050 Brussels
www.catclub.be

5. Samuel Rousseau at Aeroplastics

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‘Convulsions of the world’, a show by French multi-media artist Samuel Rousseau, opens at Brussels’ Aeroplastics this weekend. The solo exhibition features a very diverse selection of his most recent works. “Comparing artists to an urban shaman, everything he touches is transformed into the most extraordinary thing in the most ordinary places – cheese becomes the many moons, fish swims inside an egg shell, candle burns in eternality, plastic water bottles build a skyscraper,” writes InitiArt Magazine. Definitely worth a visit.

Opening 19 April, 16h00-22h00
Aeroplastics, Rue Blanchestraat 32 – 1060 Brussels
www.aeroplastics.net

6. Jacques André at Catherine Bastide

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Why shop at IKEA? Or why buy an expensive designer piece? Belgian artist Jacques André, whose work is now on view at Brussels’ gallery Catherine Bastide, examines our shopping habits and purchasing decisions – specifically, by buying and displaying things he’s bought and questioning the value we attribute to certain objects. An interesting critique of consumer society.

Opening 19th April, 18h00-21h00
Galerie Catherine Bastide, Rue Vandenbrandenstraat 1 – 1000 Brussels
www.catherinebastide.com

7. YEAR 13 at Komplot

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Komplot is one of the organisations that scored one of the newly-created artist-run spaces at Art Brussels. There is also a lot going on in their home turf, right next to Brussels’ Wiels; this weekend sees the launch of YEAR magazine, Komplot’s annual yearbook. “On the one hand it is a printed exhibition, on the other a garden hosting an experimental barbecue with dead lipstick and redneck zombies, plus a lake and a few books,” the makers say of their publication. They’ll also be hosting three different exhibitions featuring the work of artists like French-born Felicia Atkinson, Vava Dudu and Filip Gilissen.

Opening 18 April, 18h00
Komplot, Avenue Van Volxemlaan 295 – 1190 Brussels
www.komplot.be

8. Boris Thiébaut at Anyspace

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Brussels-based Boris Thiébaut, who just finished his residency at MAAC, toys with drawings, logos, engravings and pictograms to merge elements from his own memory with our collective memory. The artist blends his drawings with architectural spaces; not content to draw only on paper but also on walls, referencing graffiti art and contemporary youth culture. Anyspace gallery is now presenting a selection of his fascinating works.

19 April, 18h00-21h00
Anyspace, Rue Van Eyckstraat 59 – 1050 Brussels
www.anyspace.be

9. Sebastian Black, Cooper Jacoby and Marina Pinsky at Clearing

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Clearing, one of Brussels’ younger galleries, is known for its penchant for emerging art. This weekend the gallery is opening two shows; one by New York artist Sebastian Black with his signature puppy paintings, and another, ‘Tradewinds’, which showcases the photography of Russian-born Marina Pinsky and the sculpture of Cooper Jacoby. While Jacoby plays with space, Pinsky’s work revolves around pixilation.

18 April, 18h00-21h00
C L E A R I N G, Avenue Louise 292 Louizalaan – 1000 Brussels
www.c-l-e-a-r-i-n-g.com

10. Pieter Schoolwerth at Galerie Nathalie Obadia

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Galerie Nathalie Obadia is presenting recent creations by Pieter Schoolwerth, an American artist who lives and works in New York in his first solo exhibition in Brussels. Schoolwerth revisits old masters like Simon Vouet and Lionello Spada, digitalises and rearranges certain elements before later adding drawings and paint to the canvas. By playing with visual data from the past, he address the modern world. “His paintings assert a bizarre, freeze-dried clarity that is very much their own,” writes The New York Times.

Opening 16 April
Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Rue Charles Decosterstraat 8 – 1050 Brussels
www.galerie-obadia.com 

There’s more to this city than massive art bazaars, thanks to Dr. Vinyl’s 78-shop shake-up and more…

The concert: Autre ne veut 

The crates: Dr Vinyl’s record store day

The show: Francois Jacob