The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions.
Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century art history. The Broodthaerskabinet is a permanent presentation of works of art, editions, books and archive pieces by Marcel Broodthaers from the museum’s collection. The impact of his artistic practice was not only felt in his own country during his lifetime. He soon made his international breakthrough as well, with work that forms a lasting legacy.
Popular hero Jan Hoet, the art pope of Ghent
Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world.
‘The Man who Measures the Clouds’
Take a look at the sculpture by Jan Fabre on the roof: the body of ‘The Man who Measures the Clouds’ is modelled on Fabre himself, but the face belongs to his dead brother. Standing on a stepladder with open arms, a man is trying to measure the fleeting clouds. It’s a metaphor for artists, philosophers and scientists trying to reach higher goals deemed unattainable, such as absolute beauty.
You can finish your visit to the museum in the S.M.A.K. café.