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A contemporary art museum by the Canal in 2017

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2014-05-08 – The Citroën Yser garage, located where Boulevard Léopold II meets the Canal, is to become the site of a contemporary art museum in 2017, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region announced in L’Echo on Thursday, the day of the Region’s Iris Festival.

There is tremendous potential around the Canal which we want to exploit. We were therefore searching in this area and André Citroën’s fantastic building immediately presented itself as an obvious choice. Bringing the modern art museum to this waterside location made sense. This is a powerful choice for Brussels, which will have its Guggenheim, its MoMA,’ said the Minister-President, confirming information partly disclosed by Le Soir last Saturday, and alluding to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. He added that ‘The idea is to have a museum that can properly showcase the existing collections, which are mainly from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Post-modernist art will be especially prominent. The collections include artists such as Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Miro, Bacon and so on. We have a pretty good idea of what shape the museum will take.It will also be aimed at a broad public: the idea is not to be confined to an élitist approach.

The chosen building dates from 1934 and was described at the time as ‘the largest service station in Europe’ (more information: ‘The Citroën building is splendid, and is emblematic of the architecture of the 1930s. It is a well-known building that everyone wants to preserve. It is iconic,’ stressed the Minister-President.

He said a preliminary agreement has been reached between the Brussels Region and PSA-Peugeot-Citroën, under which the automotive business will be relocated. The part of the current garage on the Gare du Nord side will be used for the museum, while the rest of the site can be converted for other purposes, including housing. ‘To be prudent, we are working on the basis of opening the museum in 2017, at the end of the next legislative term,’ announced the Minister-President.

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