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Looking back on a wonderful year of celebrations at the MSK!

20220902 MSK 225 opening c Martin Corlazzoli COR06744
© Martin Corlazzoli

Over the past year the MSK has celebrated its 225th anniversary and 125 years of the Friends of the Museum. We look back with satisfaction on 12 great months featuring two major exhibitions, an exciting programme of activities and a big public participation project that covered the entire city. All in all, more than 130,000 people took part in the festivities. Here are just a few highlights.

September: Party weekend

We kicked off the festive year on 2 and 3 September 2022 with live music, a marketplace for designers from Ghent, food trucks, the ‘1900’ gala ball and the opening of the Albert Baertsoen exhibition (see below).

October: Taking the collection outside

During the festive year, the museum organised a major public participation project for the people of Ghent: Taking the collection outside. One of the activities in this project took place in and around the Drongenhofkapel, where pupils from De Mozaïek looked for inspiration in works by Berlinde De Bruyckere and other artists. Their own creations were exhibited in the Drongenhofkapel on 15 October and later also in the MSK’s semicircular gallery.

November: Albert Baertsoen

From September to November the Albert Baertsoen exhibition brought visitors face to face with the unique landscapes and cityscapes of ‘the Ghent painter’. Even though at the beginning of the 20th century Baertsoen was one of Belgium’s most prolific internationally exhibited artists, he later fell into a period of obscurity. Now he is now back in the spotlight where he belongs!

December: Museum night

In December the MSK’s youth collective Schoolvolk organised a fantastic Museum Night, complete with a silent disco in the semicircular gallery and ‘interventions’ in the collection - featuring AI and other techniques - by students from the LUCA school of arts.

January: Amenra acoustic

Another way the MSK celebrated its special year was through its unique collaboration with Colin H. Van Eeckhout of Amenra. Based on his fascination for the MSK’s collection and the work of Theodoor Rombouts, he engaged in dialogue with fellow artists and the works of art on show in Ghent. On the first Late Thursday of 2023, he and Amenra performed an exceptional acoustic set in the Lambeaux gallery.

February: Theodoor Rombouts

From late January to April the MSK presented the first-ever monographic exhibition of works by the 17th-century Flemish master Theodoor Rombouts. The exhibition, which attracted a remarkable number of visitors, revealed Rombouts’ artistic personality and placed his work in an entirely new perspective.

March: Jozef van Wissem & CHVE

In March, lutist Jozef van Wissem and hurdy-gurdy player CHVE performed their ethereal melodies among the monumental works of Theodoor Rombouts.

April: Board game night

Inspired by scenes in paintings by Theodoor Rombouts, on April’s Thursday Late the museum provided visitors with real board games to play, from Avatar to Lamaland and from Pandemic to Catan.

May: Pride & Paintings

The Ghent drag collective House of Lux hosted the MSK’s first-ever ‘draglesque’ evening. During the mini-festival, visitors were treated to a wide range of acts in the galleries.

June: CurioCities

June brought the opening of the CurioCities exhibition, featuring works by 400 pupils from 13 neighbourhood art workshops in Ghent. The young artists had spent a year on their creations, taking inspiration from works in the MSK’s collection. This exhibition remains open until 17 September.

July: City tours

During the festive year, you could also learn more about the history of the MSK through city tours. Guides took interested groups to different locations in the city, from parks and cemeteries to other spots that were important to artists or to the museum. You could also set out on your own with the specially published MSK city tours guide.

August: Two festive routes

Two festive thematic routes guided visitors through the museum’s history. The historical route revealed everything about the MSK’s 225-year history through works from the collection, a thematic audio guide and multimedia installations. A route entitled ‘The Friends’ tells the story of the Friends of the Museum, including its main members over 125 years of patronage, based on documents from the archives.