The International Herald Tribune looks at Brussels as the new crossroads of Contemporary art in Europe where dealers like Xavier Hufkens found freedom, chaos and opportunity:
The nexus of new art galleries is found between Wiels and the Palais des Beaux-Arts, around Antoine Dansaert Street. Led by a handful of bars and the renovated Saint-Géry market halls, the area’s reasonable rents and available space attracted independent fashion designers and has become a popular relaxing spot, with ever more numerous tea houses, boutiques and art galleries. At least three galleries — Tulips & Roses, VidalCuglietta and Hopstreet — have opened in the last nine months and others are poised to open. About 15 galleries now present artists from around the world, all within five minutes’ walk of each other.
The art is adventurous, the vibe is communal. Gallerists are friendly, sending each other visitors and banding together to coordinate openings and art walks. “It’s not yet saturated enough to be competitive,” said Mr. Zakaitis of Tulips & Roses. “There are almost no thresholds here, you can meet anybody. It’s not like Paris, which can be much more elitist and inaccessible.” […]
Uptown is a patchwork of quaint, semi-residential neighborhoods bordering the chic Avenue Louise, with an ever-stronger core of established galleries — though even here, newcomers are setting up shop, true to the nature of Brussels as a city with random pockets of activity. Barbara Gladstone, Nathalie Obadia and Almine Rech are among the powerhouses, along with Mr. Hufkens, who has built a sleek, charming gallery of concrete and glass with a garden.
The Cozy Chaos of the Brussels Art World (International Herald Tribune)