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Barbara Reise

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In October 1974, Studio International (London), then a major international contemporary art magazine published an issue devoted to Belgium with a cover designed by Marcel Broodthaers. The journal sent the young American art critic and historian Barbara Reise (1940-1978) to survey the local art scene in Belgium. Her long and rich essay entitled 'Incredible' Belgium : Impressions focuses on the years 1973-1974 and reviews the important events that marked the contemporary art scene in galleries or private collections, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts/Paleis voor Schone Kunsten in Brussels and in other Belgian museums, as well as at the ICC (Internationaal Cultureel Centrum) in Antwerp among other places.

Recently several articles have appeared in the international press, such as The New York Times or Metropolis M, which describe the flourishing art scene in Belgium and in Brussels in particular. As Barbara Reise's rich essay proves, this phenomenon might not be so recent. Forty years ago, Studio International was already referring to world famous Belgian collectors, the vitality of some galleries, while also pointing out to the lack of government support to contemporary art both in museums and in art education.