A new Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Canal area

Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort and the chairman of the Paris Centre Pompidou, Serge Lasvignes, have recently announced during a joint press conference that they have signed a protocol agreement on the transformation of the former Citroën garage into a cultural hub with a global dimension.

In order to achieve this goal, the Brussels Region had purchased the former Citroën garage building near the Canal with the intention of transforming it into a major cultural center, including a new Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art. The scientific and cultural project of this museum will be set up through a cooperation between the Brussels Region and the Centre Pompidou with the support of the CIVA (International Centre for Urbanism, Architecture and Landscape).

« This project provides a leverage to revitalize the whole area, by reconnecting both sides of the Canal, but it is also destined to become the cultural flagship of the Brussels Region », Rudi Vervoort comments.

The Brussels regional authorities have decided to join forces with the Paris Centre Pompidou, that will lend items of its very extended collection. This modern and contemporary art collection, known all over the world and containing more than 100,000 works, is the largest one of its kind in Europe. It stands out as a reference of twentieth and twenty-first century art. The collection, ranging from historical masterpieces to more recent acquisitions, covers various disciplines such as plastic arts, drawing, photography, new media, experimental film, architecture, design and industrial prospects.

The Brussels Region also wishes to make use of the internationally renowned know-how of the Centre. « The Centre Pompidou will contribute to the cultural programming and will bring in its cultural expertise and engineering. Furthermore, it will give advice and support in determining the strategy that should be followed to buy the permanent collections and to develop the future museum » chairman Serge Lasvignes confirms.

The partnership between the Region and the Centre Pompidou is subdivided in two phases. The first one, the so-called preparatory phase of the project, is the subject of the protocol agreement that has been signed. The second phase focuses on the concrete realization of the project, based on the terms that have been determined during the preparatory phase.

In the last quarter of this year, the Region will launch an architectural competition on the planning of the site. The preparatory phase, conducted by Mr. Yves Goldstein, who has been appointed for this mission by the Brussels Regional Government, should yield its conclusions by the end of July 2017.

This will finally result in the Brussels Region and the Centre Pompidou signing a structural partnership agreement by the end of 2017. The museum is scheduled to open its doors to the public in 2020 at the latest but will already host a first exhibition in 2018.

As a tribute to the Brussels modern art, the Paris Centre Pompidou is currently hosting an exhibition on the famous Belgian surrealist painter, René Magritte.