Who Built the S.M.A.K. Collection?

BY Katrina Kufer / Jun 20 2017 / 17:39 PM

Curator Christoph Buechel puts together a show of the first works purchased by Ghent’s S.M.A.K. museum which reveals the eyes behind the collection

Who Built the S.M.A.K. Collection?
Photography by Dirk Pauwels. Image courtesy S.M.A.K. 2017
Installation views of From the Collection | Verlust der Mitte curated by Christoph Büchel

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Society for the Museum of Contemporary Art (now referred to as Friends of S.M.A.K.), which largely drove the S.M.A.K. museum and made growing its collection a priority, S.M.A.K. curator Christoph Buechel presents an exhibition that looks at the early days of building the collection and who was behind it.

While the collection has developed considerably in the last 50 years, now providing a cross-section of seminal moments in the evolution of contemporary art, the dedicated efforts of a mix of institutions have always lent S.M.A.K. its own special curatorial lean. “The collection is unique in its kind. It has nothing to hide and no secrets and is not beholden to anyone except its founders,” said curator Henry Lecube at S.M.A.K.’s first exhibition, indicates the show’s curatorial statement.

Now home to over 2,000 works which were amassed over half a century, the exhibition serves as a nod to the collaborative efforts of groups such as the Museum of Fine Arts (offering its eye 1957-75), the Society for the Museum of Contemporary Art (1957-present), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.), who ventured into helping build its own collection as of 1975.

Works in the exhibition come from movements such as CoBrA, the Young Belgian Painting group, Pop art, Conceptual art, Minimalism, while artists such as Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers and Panamarenko serve as key figures in S.M.A.K.’s early acquisitions.

From the Collection | Verlust der Mitte runs until 27 August at S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium. For more information visit smak.be