Brussels has become one of Europe’s most dynamic cities when it comes to contemporary art! Every year in April, the city hosts several major fairs such as Art Brussels and Independent, the famous New York fair. It also simultaneously offers alternative fairs: YIA Art Fair, POPPOSITIONS, OFF COURSE Young Contemporary Art. Throughout the year numerous other events will be held in the European capital like the Brussels Gallery Weekend in September. Discover these events by browsing our calendar below…
Contemporary Art is Brussels’ cultural heartbeat this April
“Is Brussels the new Berlin?” Some say it is, others aren’t convinced. But one thing is certain: Brussels has become a hub of contemporary art and April we be the perfect time to enjoy the richness of its art!
Art Brussels is THE contemporary art fair in Brussels. It takes place in Tour & Taxis, an impressive industrial building that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. 140 galleries from all four corners of the globe and more than 2,000 artists gather to welcome more than 25,000 visitors from all over the world. Art Brussels is also galleries, exhibitions, debates, etc. it really is an unmissable event for amateurs of contemporary art.
Independent, New York’s trendiest contemporary art fair set up shop in Brussels for the first time in 2016. It takes place in the spacious old Vanderborght store buildings opposite the Saint Hubert Royal Galleries. Independent invites some 60 galleries and offers connoisseurs a new and open plan way of visiting a contemporary art fair.
POPPOSITIONS is a niche fair that gathers the projects of some 20 specific art galleries and spaces around one general political theme. The atmosphere is young and the tone is experimental. POPPOSITONS invites you to take a closer look at the pieces and what they could teach you. It feels more like an exhibition than a fair. It’s a wonderful breath of fresh air!
YIA ART FAIR
The international YIA ART FAIR for contemporary art is held in Brussels at the Square above the Mont des Arts. For 4 days, discover a selection of 45 international galleries and more than 140 emerging and famous artists.
OFF COURSE Young Contemporary Art
An alternative fair, OFF COURSE gives the floor to young artists as well as emerging artists. Young talents with diplomas from international art schools are invited to present their work, as are winners of various fine art competitions. Certain galleries also present pieces.
Resolutely urban and cosmopolitan, Kunstenfestivaldesarts is an international festival dedicated to contemporary creation. Theatre, dance, performances, cinema… a series of performance works and plastic art pieces by Belgian and international artists. It takes place every year over three weeks in around twenty of Brussels’ theatres and art centres, well as in several of the city’s public places.
Summer of Photography
Summer of Photography is the International Photography Biennial organised by BOZAR and numerous partners since 2006. This event showcases photography and other related media throughout the summer. The BOZAR central exhibition proposes a theme and the programme is developed from there. This goes for both venues and programme content, which combines exhibitions, conferences, workshops and portfolio presentations.
Brussels Gallery Weekend
Brussels Gallery Weekend celebrates the reopening of contemporary art galleries and non-profit spaces in September. Brussels Gallery Weekend is an opportunity to spend a whole weekend visiting the capital’s various galleries.
Art on Paper
Art on Paper is Brussels’ first fair dedicated to contemporary drawing. It is organised in collaboration with BOZAR and presents the solo shows of 25 artists. Original and convivial, Art On Paper charms both connoisseurs and amateurs. The symbiosis between public interest and the tireless passion of gallery owners from Belgium and abroad, both emerging and established, makes this event one of the unmissable dates of the season.
Brussels Design September
Echoing similar events in Milan, Montreal and Kortrijk, Brussels Design September has become the major date for design lovers. Throughout September Belgian and international designers take over the city with exhibitions, debates, workshops visits, arts & crafts routes, the Brussels Design Market and other markets where you can unearth some gems… you’ll find everything from bargains to fine, top of the range items!
Brussels Design Market
The Brussels Design Market is one of Europe’s most coveted vintage markets. Twice a year (in April and September), more than 7,000 visitors from all over Europe descend on Brussels to unearth furniture, ceramics and glass items, collectors’ pieces, plastic, metal, wooden and Bakelite accessories from the 50s up to the 80s. It’s like stepping into a time machine!
Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture
The Brussels Biennale of Modern Architecture showcases Brussels’ architectural heritage from 1918 to 1972. Every Saturday in October, different buildings open their doors for guided tours of one and a half to two hours in French, Dutch or English. And for architecture lovers on two wheels, there are bicycle rides organised. Tempted? Then sign up quick!
Nestled in the trendy Châtelain neighbourhood of Brussels, the Photo18 Festival is an annual event dedicated to art photography around a meaningful central theme. The exhibition of museum-quality photographs also offers conferences and workshops with big-name guests from the industry. The event, which takes place in an atmosphere of discovery and encounters, is a must for amateurs and collectors.
Created in Brussels in 1989, Ars musica is one of the world’s ten largest festivals on the international contemporary music scene. It is held every two years in November and has been run, since September 2013 by composer Bruno Letort. For each edition a festival theme is chosen and the festival line up is put together with partners from Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world to present an overview of what’s new in the world of musical creation.
BRAFA Art Fair
The BRAFA Art Fair in Brussels has been one of the world’s most prestigious art and antiquities fairs since 1956. The first large art event of the year takes place in the jewel of industrial architecture that is Tour & Taxis. Genres and pieces from antiquity to the present day are all under one roof to the delight of visitors who have travelled from all over the globe to experience this unique plunge into the art world.
BILY (Brussels I Love You) Contemporary Art Walk
BILY is a contemporary art walk that takes you to discover the in vogue neighbourhoods of Ixelles and Saint-Gilles from an artistic viewpoint. The route includes visits of art galleries, institutions, auction houses, exhibition spaces, artists’ workshops… a host of venues that contribute to Brussels’ creative force. Open the doors to these famous or unexpected venues!
Affordable Art fair
The Affordable Art Fair is an opportunity to browse – and who knows, maybe fall for – hundreds of inspired and original works to suit all budgets from €60 to €6,000! This affordable fair has become a major event of the Brussels art season and is frequented by both curious visitors and aficionados.
Art Truc Troc
In Brussels for a whole weekend, Art Truc Troc hosts more than a hundred artists who present their work to visitors, who in turn can offer to trade their favourite pieces for anything they think the artist might like: an object, a service, a material, a trip. Money never changes hands and plays no part in the transactions, being replaced by out of the ordinary trades. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings, engravings, installations, graffiti art, live paintings, etc. It’s also a chance to (re)discover what is currently coming out of the contemporary creation scene.
Between the plastic arts, theatre and dance, Performatik is a window into contemporary creation through artistic performance. This original festival transforms theatre audience members into museum visitors, and vice versa. To find out more, visit the Kaaitheater!
Museum Night Fever
During Museum Night Fever, Brussels museum open their doors to visitors for one night only. From 7 pm to 1 am, more than 20 museums show off the best they have to offer. It makes for a spectacular and innovative programme that combines exhibitions, music, dance, performances, fashion and workshops.