The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, June 19, 2019

End of fair report: Art Brussels 19
Installation view.

BRUSSELS.- Art Brussels once again attracted experienced and considered Belgian and international collectors who flocked to the fair this year, as well as numerous institutions and high-profile art world personalities creating an electric atmosphere with strong sales across the board.

With a retention rate of returning galleries at 70% (compared to the 50% at other major art fairs according to the 2019 UBS Art Market Report), galleries came out in force with expertly curated booths and a mixture of established and emerging artists across PRIME, DISCOVERY, REDISCOVERY, SOLOand INVITED sections. This year the fair proved that it continues to be at the centre of the city’s ever-growing, thriving art scene.

New and loyal international and national collectors in attendance this year are Mr.Frédéric de Goldschmidt, Mr. Alain Servais, members of the Vanhaerents family, Mr. and Mrs. Susan and Michael Hort, Mr. Kamiar Maleki, Mr. Eugenio Re Rebaudengo, Mrs. Ariel Roger-Paris, Mrs. Michaela Kühn, Mrs. Mimi Dusselier and Mr. Bernard Soens, Mr. and Mrs. Trahan, Mr. and Mrs. James Cahn, Mrs. Muriel Salem, and Leif Djurhuus who has one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Denmark, among many others.

Many booths had almost sold out within the first day of the fair including; in PRIME Patrick de Brock (Knokke)who sold out with works by Ethan Cook in the price range of €22,000 - €36,000, Kristof De Clercq (Ghent) who sold twenty works within the first few days of the fair with artists such as Mario De Brabandere and Johan De Wit and Ceysson & Bénétière (Luxembourg, Paris, Saint-Etienne, New York)who had already rehung three works in the first day. In the DISCOVERY section, Derouillon (Paris) had sold out the booth by Friday afternoon, as well as Lehmann+Silva (Porto) and STEMS (Brussels, Luxembourg) who also sold out their booth by the end of the fair.

In the PRIME section Harlan Levey (Brussels), who sold twenty pieces on his booth said “we were thrilled by the new contacts we made and the number of institutional curators who visited our booth. Art Brussels once again showed how classy, cool and qualitative a fair can be”. Also in PRIME, New Art Centre (Salisbury), who have been exhibiting at the fair for the past six years and sold a Henry Moore tapestry amongst others this year said, “the opening had an electric atmosphere with lots of great conversations with new and existing collectors … there is a buoyant and positive atmosphere every day”. Belgian gallery rodolphe janssen (Brussels) reported a “very strong start with an international crowd” having sold works by Thomas Lerooy, Gert & Uwe Tobias and sold out their Sanam Khatibi works amongst others. Others in PRIME, such as Blain|Southern (London, Berlin, New York), Gladstone (New York, Brussels), Lelong & Co (Paris, New York) reported great success.

Art Brussels’s dynamic new INVITED section, that included nomadic, collaborative and pop-up models, was a subject for much discussion and excitement, giving the opportunity to younger emerging galleries to participate at a considerably reduced rate. Alice Black Gallery (London) reported numerous sales and co-founder Alice Black said, “our participation payed off, the traffic in the fair was phenomenal … the collectors at Art Brussels are decisive, knowledgeable and their approach is well thought through, the work is really appreciated”. Zurich-based Counter Space, who have no fixed address, sold several works and stunned visitors with Anne Rochat’s performance in which she wrapped her naked body around a block of melting ice over the course of an hour.

The SOLO Prize jury this year included Iwona Blazwick (Director, Whitechapel Gallery), Chris Dercon (CEO, Rmn-GP, Paris), Vanessa Joan Müller (Head of Dramaturgy, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna), Raf Simons (Collector) and Monika Szewczyk (Director, De Appel, Amsterdam) who awarded the prize to Lesley Vance with Xavier Hufkens (Brussels).

The DISCOVERY Prize jury this year included Tessa Giblin (Director, Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London/Senior Artistic Advisor, The Shed, New York), Hélène Vandenberghe (Director, Philippe Vandenberg Foundation, Brussels & Advisor, The Institute for Artists’ Estates, Berlin) who awarded the prize to both tegenboschvanvreden (Amsterdam) and NOME (Berlin).

This year the fair welcomed 50 institution and collector groups such as BOZAR, Centre Pompidou, Fondation Boghossian - Villa Empain, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Jeu de Paume, Le Louvre, MUHKA, Musées du Luxembourg, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, Parasol Unit, Sotheby’s Art Institute, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Cultivist and many others. As well as notable attendance from Caroline Bourgeois (Curator, Pinault Collection), Aaron Cezar (Founding Director, Delfina Foundation), Marina Dacci (Director Collezione Maramotti), Christine Vendredi-Auzanneau (Head of Art and Culture, LVMH), Dirk Snauwaert (Artistic Director, WIELS), Bart De Baere (Director, M HKA) and Sophie Lauwers (Head of Exhibitions, BOZAR).

Performances were rife within booths at the fair including a performance by Rachel Monosov with Catinca Tabacaru (New York, Harare), Samuel Jablonpoetry readings with Freight + Volume (New York) and Anne Rochat’s melting ice performance at Counter Space (Zurich).

Talks included a discussion with Belgian artist Luc Tuymans and the author and journalist Danny Ilegems as well as Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamatain conversation with Sophie Lauwers, Director of Exhibitions at Bozar.

Art Brussels also offered several guided tours for VIP’s and visitors throughout the duration of the fair.

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