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More than 400 Galleries from 33 Countries at the 29th Art Brussels Contemporary Art Fair
An exhibit of a crocodile made by French artist Capitaine Lonchamps is displayed at the Nadja Vilenne Gallery during the Art Brussels Contemporary Art Fair in Brussels April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Thierry Roge.

BRUSSELS.- Now in its 29th year, the Art Brussels art fair, which runs from Thursday 28 April to Sunday 1 May 2011 is already being heralded as a must-see event for all lovers of contemporary art. Art Brussels, the fair for established and upcoming talent, excels at blending both into a unique concept. Art Brussels is a global player in the contemporary art field and manages, now more than ever, to maintain itself at the top of the major international art fairs. More than 400 galleries from 33 countries have submitted an application in the hope of being selected for the exhibition.

A selection which is becoming increasingly difficult every year, due to the ever increasing number of prominent galleries that apply. The international selection committee selected 170 art galleries. Roughly one quarter of the galleries are Belgian, the remainder are from Europe and all over the world. They present a variety of works by young and established talent and guarantee an interesting mix of conceptual art, contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, video, installations and performances. The emphasis, as always, is on quality.

New this year is that the traditional Monday opening has been abolished at the express request of the international participants. To compensate for this, the preview was organised on Wednesday 27 April and the fair thus opens one day earlier. The fair opens to the general public on Thursday 28 April and runs till Sunday 1 May. The new architectural plan, which was introduced in 2010 with Hall 3 reserved to the young galleries and Hall 1 to the established galleries, has been maintained. This format generates additional visibility for the young galleries and also capitalises on the interest of collectors interested in young and emerging talent.

Mousse Contemporary Art Magazine will curate the fifth Artist Projects event. In the context of this project, several international artists will be invited to create on-site interventions using the fairs existing ephemera and exhibition structure. The successful outdoor sculpture project 'Art in the City, is also set to continue, in collaboration with the City of Brussels. This collaboration gives the laureate an opportunity to develop a project for the city of Brussels. The available budget is 100,000. This cooperation with the city of Brussels will also be pursued in the next few years.

Given the importance of the fair for the city, it has been decided that henceforth the city will promote the week during which Art Brussels is held as Brussels Art Week. This cooperation aims to generate greater visibility for the city as well as for Art Brussels, and raise greater public awareness for contemporary visual art. Art Brussels also works closely with various official organisations, museums and art centres which synchronize their events with Art Brussels. Each year the off-programme is expanded.

Besides the exhibitions in museums and art centres, a host of interesting events such as debates and visits to private collections are organised at the fair. Numerous dinners and parties are spontaneously organised on the occasion of the fair. Brussels continues to grow as an international city for contemporary art, as is evidenced by the leading international art galleries, which have opened a branch in Brussels in recent years. The number of artists who choose Brussels as a working base also continues to grow. As the capital of Europe, Brussels is also relevant within the international art market at a business level. Belgium is renowned for its numerous art collectors with private collections that enjoy a worldwide reputation for their excellence.

Next to this, many international collectors enjoy attending Art Brussels as it is an excellent opportunity to discover new talent or find key works by established artists. The art world is doing well and Brussels is one of the references in the European market for contemporary art. Confidence in the banks has now gradually been restored. By contrast, the confidence in contemporary art has never wavered. Contemporary art is still an excellent investment.

The 29th Art Brussels is held from Thursday 28 April up to and including Sunday 1 May 2011 in Halls 1 and 3 of Brussels Expo in Brussels, Belgium.

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