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The new museum in the Art Deco car showroom would be part of the general upgrade of the capital's canal zone | © Stephane Mignon/Flickr
The new museum in the Art Deco car showroom would be part of the general upgrade of the capital's canal zone | © Stephane Mignon/Flickr
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Brussels To Get Its Own Museum Of Modern Art By 2020

Picture of Nana Van De Poel
Updated: 8 September 2016
A lot has been said and written about Brussels finally getting a museum of modern art to call its own. For all the back and forth about its presumed location at the Citroën building by the capital’s canal, councilman Yves Goldstein has now pegged a rough opening date. According to Goldstein, the museum will open its doors by 2019–2020 and will display artworks borrowed from a museum of international renown.

The city councillor announced the news in Paris during expo Indiscipline last weekend, as reported by Walloon paper La Libre Belgique and confirmed to BRUZZ. Goldstein, chief of staff to Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort, is spearheading the project and spoke of opening ‘in 2019 or 2020 as the apogee to a year dedicated to contemporary art in the Brussels region.’ Indiscipline brought together over 30 Brussels-based artists at the Palais de Tokyo to showcase the emergence of the Belgian capital as a hub for creative experimentation and innovation – hence the expo’s title.

Дворец Citroen

A photo posted by Ol Gor (@oleggor) on

Also notable was Goldstein’s mention of a ‘major international museum’ supplying works for the new Brussels temple of modern art. Since state secretary for science policy Elke Sleurs made clear two years ago that the nation’s federal collection is off the table, and state bank Belfius did the same for its impressive modern art collection, the question of what exactly would fill the 30,000-square-meter building has loomed large. Goldstein’s remark about an as-of-yet unnamed foreign partner that would provide the core of the new museum is cause for speculation – first suspects on La Libre’s list are Paris’ Centre Pompidou or Bilbao’s Guggenheim.

The much-discussed MAK (Museum aan het Kanaal or ‘Museum on the Canal’) hasn’t materialized yet, though. Despite vocal support from multiple famous Brusselaars, such as Stromae, and initial announcements of doors opening by 2017, the Vervoort cabinet’s plans remain a point of contention between Brussels and the federal government, although the capital’s acquisition of the Citroën car showroom last year has accelerated the discussion. While the monumental steel-and-glass building is beloved by locals, there’s disagreement on what the site should be used for, with suggestions ranging from an urban factory and architectural center to a modern housing block. Critical voices have pointed out the Art Deco building’s lack of sustainability and its unsuitability to house precious works of art.