Advanced search
Add to list

A new Magritte museum in Brussels: irony as a mode, and museum architecture as a medium in which to establish Magritte as impersonation of Belgian identity

Author
Organization
Abstract
Later in 2009, a new Magritte Museum is to open in Brussels, located amidst the principal national cultural institutions. I my paper, I want to discuss how this new museum and its architecture are involved in issues of local and national identification. In our post-industrial era, museums and their iconic architecture are key infrastructure for successful urban economies. Presenting the oeuvres of renowned artists, monographic museums such as the new Magritte Museum, are particularly instrumental for city branding. They provide not only the much wanted landmark buildings and unique masterpieces to lure tourists, but also often foreground names and (hi)stories that help shaping the ‘brand’ of a city. (From the monographic museum to the monographic city!) But monographic museums function also in the older logic of memorial museums celebrating the nation’s or city’s geniuses, museums creating a national identity. Particularly in the nineteenth century, artists like Dürer or Rubens became national heroes, glorified with numerous statues, and with their proper museums. A biographical connection with the territory is to this day the prime condition for a ‘nationalization’, besides an international renown and a strong artist’s myth. So far, Magritte, the Brussels-based counterpart of Parisian surrealism, qualifies just like Rubens did. But in contrast with the full and sincere 19th century identification with Rubens, today Magritte emblems Belgium’s self-image in a quasi-ironic way. Over time, Magritte’s art has been reduced and clichéd (locally) as a metaphor for all Belgian absurdities, in particular those concerning political organization, national identity and the ungraspable status of Brussels, while Magritte has become a comic character himself, with his chapeau melon almost identical to Hergé’s Dupond & Dupont. With its collage-like design on its particular location in Brussels, the Magritte Museum testifies to the currently overtly fictionalized Belgian identity.
Keywords
museum architecture, identity, museology, Brussels, nationality, Belgium

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Liefooghe, Maarten. “A New Magritte Museum in Brussels: Irony as a Mode, and Museum Architecture as a Medium in Which to Establish Magritte as Impersonation of Belgian Identity.” The Multiple Faces of Identity in the Designed Environment. Ed. Soumyen Bandyopadhyay. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, 2009. Print.
APA
Liefooghe, M. (2009). A new Magritte museum in Brussels: irony as a mode, and museum architecture as a medium in which to establish Magritte as impersonation of Belgian identity. In S. Bandyopadhyay (Ed.), The multiple faces of identity in the designed environment. Presented at the 2009 Architectural Design and Global Difference (ADGD) conference : The multiple faces of identity in the designed environment, Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.
Chicago author-date
Liefooghe, Maarten. 2009. “A New Magritte Museum in Brussels: Irony as a Mode, and Museum Architecture as a Medium in Which to Establish Magritte as Impersonation of Belgian Identity.” In The Multiple Faces of Identity in the Designed Environment, ed. Soumyen Bandyopadhyay. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Liefooghe, Maarten. 2009. “A New Magritte Museum in Brussels: Irony as a Mode, and Museum Architecture as a Medium in Which to Establish Magritte as Impersonation of Belgian Identity.” In The Multiple Faces of Identity in the Designed Environment, ed. Soumyen Bandyopadhyay. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.
Vancouver
1.
Liefooghe M. A new Magritte museum in Brussels: irony as a mode, and museum architecture as a medium in which to establish Magritte as impersonation of Belgian identity. In: Bandyopadhyay S, editor. The multiple faces of identity in the designed environment. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment; 2009.
IEEE
[1]
M. Liefooghe, “A new Magritte museum in Brussels: irony as a mode, and museum architecture as a medium in which to establish Magritte as impersonation of Belgian identity,” in The multiple faces of identity in the designed environment, Nottingham, UK, 2009.
@inproceedings{751459,
  abstract     = {Later in 2009, a new Magritte Museum is to open in Brussels, located amidst the principal national cultural institutions. I my paper, I want to discuss how this new museum and its architecture are involved in issues of local and national identification. 
In our post-industrial era, museums and their iconic architecture are key infrastructure for successful urban economies. Presenting the oeuvres of renowned artists, monographic museums such as the new Magritte Museum, are particularly instrumental for city branding. They provide not only the much wanted landmark buildings and unique masterpieces to lure tourists, but also often foreground names and (hi)stories that help shaping the ‘brand’ of a city. (From the monographic museum to the monographic city!)
But monographic museums function also in the older logic of memorial museums celebrating the nation’s or city’s geniuses, museums creating a national identity. Particularly in the nineteenth century, artists like Dürer or Rubens became national heroes, glorified with numerous statues, and with their proper museums. A biographical connection with the territory is to this day the prime condition for 
a ‘nationalization’, besides an international renown and a strong artist’s myth. So far, Magritte, the Brussels-based counterpart of Parisian surrealism, qualifies just like Rubens did. But in contrast with the full and sincere 19th century identification with Rubens, today Magritte emblems Belgium’s self-image in a quasi-ironic way. Over time, Magritte’s art has been reduced and clichéd (locally) as a metaphor for all Belgian absurdities, in particular those concerning political organization, national identity and the ungraspable status of Brussels, while Magritte has become a comic character himself, with his chapeau melon almost identical to Hergé’s Dupond & Dupont. With its collage-like design on its particular location in Brussels, the Magritte Museum testifies to the currently overtly fictionalized Belgian identity.},
  author       = {Liefooghe, Maarten},
  booktitle    = {The multiple faces of identity in the designed environment},
  editor       = {Bandyopadhyay, Soumyen},
  isbn         = {978-1-84233-139-2},
  keywords     = {museum architecture,identity,museology,Brussels,nationality,Belgium},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Nottingham, UK},
  pages        = {8},
  publisher    = {Nottingham Trent University. School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment},
  title        = {A new Magritte museum in Brussels: irony as a mode, and museum architecture as a medium in which to establish Magritte as impersonation of Belgian identity},
  year         = {2009},
}