Independent Art Fair Heads to Brussels

New York’s hippest art fair, Independent, is crossing the pond. But its destination is neither the vibrant market hub of London–Frieze’s uncontested turf–nor Paris, where FIAC reigns supreme. Independent has set its sights on the suitably trendy city of Brussels.

In an email sent by director Laura Mitterrand to the fair’s past and present exhibitors yesterday, Independent announced it will inaugurate its first Belgian edition in 2016 in the former Dexia Art Center, a 50,000 square foot 1930s building that once housed the Dexia bank’s art collection. The fair has also secured a 4,000 square foot duplex in an old print works at 67 Rue de la Regence.

Independent’s arrival in town could deal a serious blow to Art Brussels, the homegrown fair which, like its New York competitor, focuses primarily on exhibitors at the cutting-edge of the gallery world (see Art Brussels Powers Ahead as European Sales Platform for Young Artists). Contacted by artnet News, Art Brussels’ managing director Anne Vierstraete wasn’t immediately available for comment.

But Independent’s surprise move validates the Belgian capital’s growing significance in the international art market. Belgian collectors are increasingly recognized for their discerning buying habits—and the city as a whole is known to be punching above its weight (Brussels Gallery Beat: Jan Fabre’s Marble Brains and More Major Shows This Month).

In 2017, it will inaugurate its first museum dedicated solely to modern contemporary art in a garage and warehouse formerly owned by the French car manufacturer Citroën (see Brussels Gets New Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art).

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