Magritte and the
Surrealist Movement in Belgium
Part of The Baker Museum Lecture Series
Frank Verpoorten, Director and Chief Curator
The Baker Museum
Xavier Canonne, Ph.D., Art Historian
Université libre de Bruxelles
Join Frank Verpoorten, Director and Chief Curator of The Baker Museum and Xavier Canonne, co-curator of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie: Magritte and the Belgian Surrealists for a discussion in conjunction with the exhibition. With the focus solely on Magritte lately, the art world has been missing out on the larger context of Surrealism in Belgium. The first major exhibition in the U.S. to focus on the work of different artists in this pivotal movement of 20th century European art, Magritte and the Belgian Surrealists offers visitors an inaugural platform for the appreciation of the work of Paul Delvaux, Marcel Mariën, Jane Graverol, Rachel Baes, Edouard Mesens, Armand Simon, and others.
This lecture accompanies the exhibition Surrealism in Belgium: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie on display at The Baker Museum, January 31 — May 3, 2015.
Frank Verpoorten has over 15 years of experience at cultural institutions and museums in Brussels, Belgium and New York City. Originally from Brussels, Mr. Verpoorten moved to New York City in 2002, where he served in curatorial roles at the Museum of Modern Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the Dahesh Museum of Art and, most recently, as Cultural Attaché for the Representation of the Government of Flanders (Belgium) to the U.S. In his recent role as Cultural Attaché, Mr. Verpoorten oversaw multidisciplinary cultural programming, including exhibitions, performing arts initiatives, lectures, musical concerts and a film program.
Mr. Verpoorten attended the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium and received dual master’s degrees in art history and cultural studies. He held research and curatorial positions at the Museum for Musical Instruments and the Royal Museum for Fine Arts in Brussels before moving permanently to New York in 2002.
Xavier Canonne is the art historian at the Liberal University in Brussels (U.L.B.) and holds a Doctor of Art History and Archeology from the Sorbonne (Paris I) with a thesis devoted to Surrealism in Belgium (1950-1993). Canonne is the publisher of Marées de la Nuit, which since 1986 has specialized in surrealism and avant-garde, and has been the author of many works and essays about art history. Canonne managed the collection of the Province de Hainaut from 1987 to 2000, presided over the advisory Commission of Plastic Arts of the French Community from 1987 to 2002, and was a lecturer in Art History at the High School of Plastic and Visual Arts in Mons. Has been managing the Photography Museum of the French Community in Charleroi since March 2000, following Georges Vercheval who was the founder.
- Commissioner of the Sao Paulo Biennial (Brazil) for the French Community where the photographs Christine Felten and Véronique Massinger were presented.
- Author of the book Surrealism in Belgium 1924-2000 published by the Mercator Fund in Brussels in November 2006 (Fr-D-E).
- Commissioner of the exhibition Surrealism in Belgium in the Fine Arts Museum in Mons-BAM (March-April 2007).
- Author of Requiem pour un homme seul. Le Samouraï de Jean-Pierre Melville (2010) devoted to the french film-maker Jean-Pierre Melville.
- Author of Marcel Mariën, Le passager clandestin (2013) devoted to the Belgian surrealist Mariën.