2023 at the museums of Antwerp

After 2022, the City of Antwerp museums are preparing to receive visitors as well as possible in 2023 as well. The new permanent exhibition ‘Someone at home‘ opened at the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) last weekend and the Philip Aguirre exhibition in Museum Plantin-Moretus will be extended by three weeks until 19 February. 

On January 8, the Rubens House will close its doors for renovation work. In February, three exhibitions will open at Photography Museum or FOMU and the Nottebohmzaal in the Heritage Library will be transformed into a 17th-century chapel. The Red Star Line Museum is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the MAS is showing a ‘Broken City‘ in the autumn. The year will be festively concluded with two world-class exhibitions of masterpieces.

State of affairs ticket sales museums

After the cyber attack against the City of Antwerp administration, visitors can again order tickets online for a normal museum visit. Via the ‘order tickets’ button it is possible to order tickets. Visitors then arrive at an overview page and can choose the museum themselves.

So, what’s on in 2023?

​FOMU

Grace Ndiritu reimagines the FOMU Collection. Collection presentation from 17 February 2023 to January 2024. 

In the exhibition Grace Ndiritu reimagines the FOMU collection, British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu builds a new photographic universe in which she integrates painting, textiles and interior design. It is a radical and holistic reinterpretation of what a collection exhibition can be. Ndiritu’s photographic installation ‘A Quest For Meaning‘ (2014) forms the starting point of the exhibition and her quest through the FOMU collection. Ndiritu combines photos associatively. 

Through surprising combinations she gives new meaning to work by Annemie Augustijns, Dirk Braeckman, Suzy Embo, Rinko Kawauchi, Paul Kooiker, Tina Modotti, Man Ray and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others. 

The exhibition also includes the ‘Imperial Panorama‘ (1905), a masterpiece from the FOMU collection that will be shown to the public again after a thorough restoration.

Susan Meiselas – ‘Mediations’

From 17 February to 4 June 4 2023.

How do you work as a photographer? There’s always that awkward, unequal balance of power. How do you break that? How can it become a dialogue?” – Susan Meiselas

For nearly five decades, Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas (US, 1948) has used her camera to testify and connect. Meiselas has traveled the world and dealt with a wide variety of subjects, from the sex industry to war and human rights violations. She draws attention to what is often hidden or ignored by the public. 

To this day, Susan Meiselas strives for direct contact and dialogue with the people she portrays. Her approach is collaborative and also includes the perspective of the people she photographs. Meiselas is considered a forerunner not only for politically engaged photographers who carefully document, reflect on and contextualize their work, but also for photographers who collaborate with their subjects.

‘When the body says Yes’ – Melanie Bonajo

From 17 February 17 to 4 June 2023.

‘When the body says Yes’ is an immersive video installation by Melanie Bonajo, a Dutch artist, filmmaker, sexological bodyworker and somatic sex coach and educator. 

The installation, commissioned by the Mondriaan Fund for the 2022 Venice Biennale, is part of the artist’s ongoing investigation into the current status of intimacy in our increasingly alienating, utility-driven world. According to Bonajo, touch can be a powerful remedy for today’s loneliness epidemic.

Reopening permanent collection presentation DIVA

Opening weekend 24 March 2023.

DIVA, the museum for diamonds, jewelery and silver celebrates 575 years of diamonds in Antwerp with a renewal of its permanent collection presentation. 

From 24 March 2023, DIVA invites the visitor to follow the journey of the main themes in the collection, diamonds, jewelry and silver. This journey starts in a brand new room where the visitor is introduced to the raw materials, zooms in on recent developments in the sector such as urban mining, upcycling and lab-grown diamond, and also learns more about the issues of ecology and ethics. 

Next, the visitor meets the experts, the dealers, the makers and the designers, and finally the characters who wear the jewels or use the silverware. In this way, the museum tells a broader story from raw material to object, or from the mine to the ring in seven thematic rooms.

In addition, DIVA emphatically focuses on the craftsmanship that lies behind the objects. The creation and production process of the jewelry and silver objects is brought to life thanks to image and sound fragments. There is also more attention for contemporary jewelry and silver designers in the choice of objects. With interventions in the field of public guidance, the museum wants to lower barriers and appeal to a wide audience. For example, an introductory text in each room guides the visitor, there is a new audio tour and the highlights of the collection are highlighted centrally.

‘Geometrically Wired’

IO Van Oostveldt between clothing and art. MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp. From 25 February to 30 July 2023

MoMu offers an insight into the life and work of the Belgian artist IO Van Oostveldt. Geometry and experiment form a guiding principle in her art and clothing designs.

James Ensor & the music

Museum Vleeshuis. From 30 March to June 2023

Painter James Ensor was also a gifted composer. His ballet ‘La gamme d’amour‘ premiered in 1924 at the Antwerp Opera. Museum Vleeshuis keeps three design sketches of the sets of that ballet, drawn from Ensor’s oeuvre. These sketches are the starting point for a small focus presentation on Ensor’s music graphics.

Especially for the presentation, Nicolas Callot and Bart Rodyns recorded excerpts from the ballet on a piano and harmonium from the late 19th century.

The concert series ‘Woensdagklanken‘ (from January to June 2023) is also dedicated to James Ensor and his time.

Homesickness

Red Star Line Museum, from 17 May to 3 September 2023.

The Red Star Line Museum talks to a diverse group of Antwerp residents about the power of memories. With various initiatives, the museum exposes the many facets of ‘Homesickness‘: they stimulate all the senses and make the visitor reflect on what exactly homesickness is. 

The project addresses a universal feeling that we all (re)know. A family festival, a herb garden at the Permeke Library and various workshops are also on the programme. And a diverse group of 10 young emerging female artists presents a work on the theme of Homesickness, specially made for this expo in collaboration with coach co-curator Malikka Bouaissa from Arteshoq vzw.

Baroque influencers, The Jesuits, Rubens and the Art of Persuasion in the 17th Century

Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library. From 21 April 21 to 30 July 2023

To convince their audience, the Jesuits developed a unique visual culture that had an influence as far as China. The city festival ‘Baroque Influencers‘ shows how the protagonists of 17th century Antwerp think, dream, work and pray. 

One of the showpieces is the vanished baroque chapel on the Conscienceplein where today the impressive Nottebohmzaal is located. The space is described in historical sources as ‘a dining room for the king’. 

The beautifully decorated room was decorated with dozens of paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck and with a marble wall covering. After the cessation of the Jesuit order in 1773, the room was radically changed: the works of art have disappeared and 19th-century bookshelves have been installed. During ‘Baroque Influencers’, the Nottebohmzaal will once again be transformed into this beautiful chapel.

Man Ray and fashion

MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp. From 22 April to 13 August 2023

In the spring of 2023, MoMu will highlight Man Ray’s oeuvre from a fashion perspective.

The exhibition unites Man Ray’s iconic photography and artwork with fashion silhouettes from the Interwar period and the work of contemporary fashion designers and photographers inspired by his work.

Vincen Beeckman (working title)

FOMU. From 23 June to 8 October 2023.

The summer of 2023 will see the first major museum exhibition by artist Vincen Beeckman (Belgium, 1973). For Beeckman, photography is an excuse to connect people. 

Throughout his entire oeuvre, the people he photographs are central, in every step of their collaboration. Beeckman takes the time to build good contact by always being present, even if only for a short time. 

Several long-running projects will be given ample attention in the exhibition. You get to know people from your own neighborhood, who you can look at with different eyes. Central lines of force of the work are the fragility of human life and the positive energy that lies within it. The exhibition shows highlights of twenty years of collaboration, in combination with new work that he created on behalf of FOMU.

Silver Triennale: exhibition for contemporary design

DIVA, from 28 August to 8 October 2023

From 28 August DIVA presents the 20th edition of the Silver Triennial. This is the international competition for contemporary silver. The traveling exhibition shows the best entries from this triennial competition and is organized by the Gesellschaft für Goldschmiedekunst in Hanau

The expo is taken over from the Goldschmiedehaus Hanau, but in DIVA it gets its own face and presentation. The exhibition is aimed at lovers of design, art and contemporary (silver) work, but also at makers of contemporary silver.

Expo about WWII in Antwerp, 1940-1945 (working title)

MAS, from 7 September 2023.

Broken city‘ shows the impact of the World War II on the inhabitants of Antwerp from 1940 to 1945. Antwerp was hit particularly hard. The Nazi terror, the persecution of the Jews and the military violence killed 25,000 city residents. The Nazi dictatorship divided the city’s inhabitants and led to the massive persecution of Jews and dissenters. The city broke under war and persecution. ​

How could this happen? What did it mean to live in Antwerp’s Nazi society? What happens when basic values such as freedom and equality disappear? What choices do city residents themselves make: flee or stay, cooperate with the occupier, wait and obey or resist? And what would you do?

10 years Red Star Line Museum

From Wednesday 27 September to Sunday 1 October, the Red Star Line Museum will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum with families, friends and partners. It will be a real family weekend for the general public.

‘Rare and indispensable’: ​100 masterpieces from Flemish collections

MAS, from 27 October 2023 to 25 February 2024.

Magritte, Bacon, Ensor, Moore, Jordaens, Rubens… These are just a few of the world-famous names that will be on display at the MAS in the autumn of 2023. 

The unmissable exhibition ‘Rare and indispensable‘ presents a unique selection of masterpieces from the Flemish list of masterpieces. Works of art that would otherwise require crossing the whole of Flanders, or that are never even publicly accessible, can now be admired temporarily in one place. And that in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the Flemish decree on masterpieces.

‘From Crabbelinge to Carton – Drawings from Bruegel to Rubens’ from Flemish Collections

Museum Plantin-Moretus, from 17 November 2023 to 18 February 2024.

With this exhibition, the Museum Plantin-Moretus shows the 80 most beautiful old drawings from Flemish collections. The whole forms an astonishing and representative overview of how and why people drew in our region in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

The masterpieces from the museum’s own collection form the basis of this exhibition, but they are supplemented with complementary masterpieces from other Flemish public and private collections. It is a unique opportunity to see a few of the greats side by side, such as the sketchbook of the 12-year-old Rubens, the 10-metre-long ‘Panorama of Zealand‘ by Antoon van den Wijngaerde and the extremely rare Italy sketchbooks by the sculptor Pieter Verbruggen

And in addition to big names such as Frans Floris, Pieter Bruegel, Anthony Van Dyck or Jacob Jordaens, the beautiful and rarely shown sheets of lesser-known artists such as Jan van Stinemolen, Hans Collaert, Pieter van Lint, Godfried Maes and Jan Erasmus Quellinus are a surprising discovery. .

New arrangement of artwork at Middelheim Museum

Ongoing in 2023.

The Middelheim Museum is breathing new life into its art park. At the end of 2023, the museum will look completely different. Many sculptures will be given a new, well thought-out place in the art park, with better interpretation and signage. There will also be a new publicly accessible open-air depot for sculptures that are temporarily not on display in the collection presentation. In the renewed presentation, extra attention is paid to the landscape elements and the special heritage value of the Middelheim site. In this way people, art, nature and heritage come even closer together.

Art and museums in Antwerp

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