ART BRUSSELS 2011
Tick, Tock. Brussels Week
with the ArtSlant Team
The question at the art fairs is always: To float or to swim? Should I power upstream kicking and pulling, straining for that peak moment? Or do I passively drift on the river watching the tangerine trees and marmalade skies as they go by? It’s a question of style, circumstance and energy. But a good plan, whether followed or not, is a good start to any fair experience. So get your Brueghels on and let's do some Brussels stomping.
WED, 27 April. When in Brussels.
Shake off the jet lag and indulge in a little Brussels101. A must-do is the Grand Place, the historic square in Lower Town that just begs to please. Can anyone ever really get tired of Flemish Baroque or those dripping Gothic spires? Have a cafe, meander, look for your soul mate. From the Grote Markt, head around the corner (do you have to see the little boy peeing thing?) to the Biscuiterie Dandoy for a wallow in Brusselian biscuity history – Belgium is the land of extra good chocolate (Neuhaus is deadly). Then walk over to Cora Kemperman (that Dutch maven who's layered her way to the top) for that definitely-different outfit. Stroll along rue Antoine Dansaert and side streets for Belge chic and glitz. Don’t miss Jean-Baptiste Bernadet & Xavier Noiret-Thomé at Hunting and Collecting, or Stijl for young Belge designers. Top it off with a little vintage rewind at Idiz Bogam.
Had enough consumerism? Veer slightly and sneak in a quick visit to La Centrale Electrique – European Center for Contemporary Art for a little South African drama a la Jane Alexander. Alexander's exhibit, Security - Surveys from the Cape of Good Hope, runs from kitsch to mutation, resilience to surveillance. Call of the wild anyone? Swing over to the terrace at Café Metropole for art deco glamour and a little decompression. This cafe is reputed to be one of the best terraces in town.
4pm… VIP Vernissage. Got an invite? Then dress it up and off to the VIP Vernissage we go. Black is good; high heels are better. Kiss and tell your way through the Expo. Hit the champagne bar. Watch for the Mousse Artist Projects (it's all about consumption) and don't forget to send out a tweet or two. Fair Hint: The float technique is an absolute must for opening night.
FAIR DAZE - Thu-Sun 28 April to 1 May
(Image: Nathan Mabry, Tête de Femme (Plump), 2010, Aluminum, baga d’mba shoulder mask, wood, epoxy clay, novelty sausage, stainless steel. Courtesy the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles)
You’re caffeinated and ready for some serious upstream art viewing. You’ve got the Belge under your belt and the champagne out of your Brueghel, so it’s time to take it all in. Naturally, first up is the First Call, young galleries whose programs are grabbing attention. From Los Angeles, Cherry and Martin will be showing Nathan Mabry (see Ed Schad's two-part review) and Amanda Ross-Ho, among others. These artists are developing into serious contenders and both had impressive exhibitions at Cherry and Martin in the last six months. From London, Corvi-Mora will be showing Abel Auer (one of our faves - see David Yu's interview) and Dorota Jurczak. And Kate MacGarry will be showing Francis Upritchard and Ben Rivers (see Laura Bushell's interview) among others.
From the Young Talent galleries we are looking towards Galerie Chez Valentin (Paris), Fred [London] Limited (London), François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles), Galleryske (India), Hoet Bekaert (Brussels), Michael Stevenson (South Africa) and Tracy Williams Ltd. (New York)...that will keep you busy!
(Image: Francis Upritchard, Land, 2010, Found wardrobes, silk,modelling material, foil, wire, paint, 75x354x120 cm with 'The Pair', 69x35.5x25.5 cm. Courtesy the the artist and Kate MacGarry, London. Photo: Wolfgang Thaler, Secession)
(Images not credited above include: Top Image -Matthieu Ronsse, Studio view, brooklyn, new york; Courtesy of the artist and Hoet Bekaert Gallery; Jean-Baptiste Bernadet & Xavier Noiret-Thomé, Anonymous, Artists Collection #1, on view at Hunting and Collecting 27 Apr - 14 May, 2011. Courtesy of the artists and Hunting and Collecting, BE. Jane Alexander, Security - Surveys from the Cape of Good Hope, on view at La Centrale électrique 25 Mar - 21 Aug, 2011. Courtesy the artist and La Central électrique, BE)