The Verbeke Foundation, along a highway near Antwerp, was founded by art collectors Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens.
Geert Verbeke sold his transport company three years ago and displayed his art collection in his gigantic factory building where his trucks once stood. Even a container painted by Keith Haring looks small in that hall.
Today the Foundation with 12 hectares (29.7 acres) of scenic area and 20,000 m² (4,9 acres) covered spaces, is one of the largest private initiatives for contemporary art throughout Europe. Culture, nature and ecology go hand in hand in the Verbeke Foundation.
As Geert Verbeke puts it himself: “Our exhibition space does not aim to be an oasis. Our presentation is unfinished, in motion, unpolished, contradictory, untidy, complex, inharmonious, living and unmonumental, like the world outside of the museum walls. You will find no flamboyant sensational buildings here, but rather, a refreshing, unpretentious place to look at art and a subtle criticism of the art world.”
Artists in Residence
Except art itself artists also can find shelter at the Foundation. In early January 2008 an artist-in-residence programme was set up. Artists are given the chance to realise works in situ. The Verbeke Foundation provides in a workshop, meals and sleeping accommodation for the residents to fully set themselves on their artistic activities.
In future, the Verbeke Foundation wishes to expand the residence programme to artists-scientists who, as part of their stay, can study parts of the art collection and archives.
Stunning Bed and Breakfast
But even you and I can stay overnight at the Foundation … in a work of art: in a hack, designed in the form of an anus by the Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout (photo), or a camping-flat. And there is breakfast too.
Don’t hesitate to visit this unusual free state when you are in Antwerp.