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What you Missed: Art Brussels 2013

By Yanyan Huang

April 23, 2013

Art Brussels 2013 closed this weekend, having provided a dizzying half-week full of gallery openings, concurrent off-site festivals, and private collection receptions. Albeit less action-packed than Basel, visitors were serious and sales brisk.

At the entrance of the fair was a circular 60’s mod theater that one had to duck under to watch projected video pieces, calling to mind 2001: A Space Odyssey. The stage area hosted talks and performances with well-regarded historians and art professionals, topics ranging from “The Value of our love. Artist Practice and its Economic Reality” to “Art Fairs: Are they really so bad after all?” featuring guests like Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ute Meta Bauer, Chris Hammond, Nav Haq, and others.

Open Gallery

The Young Talents section hosted some of the most exciting young artists and emerging galleries, including Clearing (NY, Brussels), Steve Turner (LA), Motive (Brussels), SpazioA (Pistoia), and Jeanrochdard (Paris).

On Friday, over 25 galleries opened their doors for a citywide gallery stroll (though promised shuttles were not to be seen). Top picks included: Marina Pinsky, Cooper Jacoby, and Sebastian Black at CLEARING, Sterling Ruby at Charles Riva collection, Eirene Efstathiou at Mot International, Gert Jan Kocken at Motive, and Jacques André at Catherine Bastide.

Open Gallery

Sunday saw a private breakfast and viewing of Maison Particulière, a gorgeous 19th century townhouse complete with rotating shows by different collectors. Decorated with early 20th century furniture, it serves as an example of an ultimate art-viewing experience.

Later on, we caught the tail-end of the Experienz performance festival at Wiels, where Guillaume Désanges gave a brilliant talk and slideshow of his students reinterpreting famous performance pieces, followed by a quick 30-minute history of performance art by Roselee Goldberg, founder of Performa, then a roundtable discussion on collecting and exhibiting conceptual and immaterial work beyond mere financial patronage, including Marseilles-based collectors Marc and Josée Gensollen, Nathalie Guiot, Chantall Pontbriand, and the aforementioned speakers. Unfortunately, most of that discussion was in French, but the highlight had to be when the 60-something French collector bent over, showed us his bottom, turned around and yelled, “What do you think this is about?!?”

Open Gallery

Art Brussels

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