Aesthetic Riots in the Kingdom of Chocolate

“If it’s aesthetically justified to revolt for a proper art policy, then our revolution starts today.”

Sometimes a revolution needs nothing but a single shove to break loose once more. Maybe an admitted incompetent Minister of Culture – succeeding a couple of equally incompetent yet indifferent and unmeddling Ministers of Culture – who turns the former epicenter of our contemporary art scene into an upper class chocolate bar, might do the job.

Join us on March 27 in front of what used to be the ICC building on the Meir in Antwerp and bring your creative spirits and protest banners for a day full of creative revolution. We’ll show our Minister of Culture that subsidiary money is not a source of laziness and a chocolate bar is usually not considered contemporary art.

PS: “Send lawyers, guns and money”

The ICC: a short history
“Meir, Antwerp (February 1, 1998) – The atmosphere is quite grim as a couple of dozens of artists gather around the Royal Palace in Antwerp, which then was internationally known as the ICC. This fine piece of monarchical property was built in the 18th century and fell into the greedy little hands of Napoleon and later on the kingdoms of the Netherlands and eventually Belgium. After King Bauduain (†1993) himself donated the building to the artist community in 1970, it became the country’s first official institution for contemporary art. But when plans were revealed to close down the ICC and renovate what had become a pounding heart of creativity, many artists were ready to defend their alcazar, only to be beaten down and dragged out ten days later, after a good old artistic brawl. The stakes were high. In the 1970’s and ‘80s, the ICC had developed into a creative outlet for all kinds of artists and evolved into a fitting intermediary station between progressive art praxis and the ill-at-ease general public. In other words, that joint was what you might refer to as the artists’ paradise. It was crowded with painters, performance artists and poets. The ordinary citizen walked by and became intrigued, maybe decided to eat lunch in the cafeteria and either loved the art or left it alone. Apart from offering an alternative platform for the production of conceptual art, the institution finally gave modern art the mass exposure it deserved. Many installations, videos, happenings and performances were presented, sometimes taking things way beyond the front doors of the museum. The late American artist Gordon Matta-Clark — known for his site-specific artwork — created his famous Office Baroque in an abandoned office building nearby. By removing different sections of floors, ceilings, and walls he created the greatest work in his ‘building cuts’ series. The man died in ’77, so luckily for him he didn’t see it destroyed by an uncaring city council a couple of years after. Although in the next decade the ICC lost a bit of its disobedient 1970’s-break-out-of-the-museum-walls-spirit, the palace continued to play an important role as a museum for film and a contemporary sidekick of the Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA).” – POSTRmagazine #5: The Art Issue.

1998 – ICC occupation by artists

Gordon Matta-Clark – Office Baroque

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