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“Fiction enables us to grasp reality and at the same time that which is veiled by reality” – Marcel Broodthaers The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles was created in 1968 by Marcel Broodthaers. It was opened as a semi-fictional institution, with Broodthaers taking the role of ‘museum director’ just months after he participated alongside fellow artists and students in the occupation of the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels. A wave of demonstrations and occupations were happening across Europe and the World in 1968 due to the increase in social awareness of the population and the dissatisfaction towards the institutions and governmental policies that allowed events such as war, racial discrimination and the onslaught of global capitalism to happen. The occupation of the Palais des Beaux Arts symbolised a re-claiming of institutional space and a contestation of state authority in Brussels. For Broodthaers and others, the focus of dissent was the museum (the Palais). Broodthaers had deliberately taken up the role of ‘artist’ four years earlier (he had previously been working as a poet and writer), and through the ‘museological’ format he found a way to both critique the institution and form a space to experiment with his own artistic ideas. The Museum was initially opened in Broodthaers’ house and studio, and had no permanent location. The image of an eagle acted as the emblem of the Museum and its Department of Eagles. There were 11 subsequent sections that included prints, signage, photography, drawings and many artefacts which were shown in various exhibitions and locations. Arnolfini is presenting a selection of signage, door panels and photographic documentation from various sections of the Museum in Gallery 2, alongside Miroir d’Époche Regency (Regency Period Mirror), a large convex eagle mirror in Gallery 1.

Front cover: Miroir d’Époque Regency (Regency Period Mirror), 1973 Marcel Broodthaers Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles Collection S.M.A.K., Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent With special thanks to The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers

MARCEL BROODTHAERS MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, DEPARTMENT OF EAGLES


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3

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2

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1

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11

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13

9. Département des aigles

16 18

Moderne, Département des aigles

1968

(Documentary Section of the Museum

Red background, gold embossed

of Modern Art, Department of Eagles)

(84 x 121 cm)

1969

Painted and pressed plastic panel

(88 x 89cm)

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19

15. Section Documentaire du Musée d’art

(Department of Eagles)

10. Section XVIIe siécle

16. Section Documentaire du Musée d’art

(XII Century Section)

Moderne, Département des aigles

1970

(Documentary Section of the Museum

(87.5 x 121.5 cm)

of Modern Art, Department of Eagles)

Painted and pressed plastic panel

1969

17

(100 x 78cm) 11. Section XVIIe siécle (XII Century Section)

List of Exhibits 1. Museum enfants non admis

5. Département des aigles

1970

1972

(87.5 x 121.5 cm)

(Two works, each 84 x 59.5cm)

Painted and pressed plastic panel 18. Musée-Museum

(Museum children not allowed)

(Department of Eagles)

1968

1968

White background (84.4 x 121 cm)

Gold background, black embossed

(Cinema Section)

Painted and pressed plastic panel

(84 x 121 cm)

1970/1

Painted and pressed plastic panel

White background, red and black

2. Service publicité (Publicity Service)

6. Section littéraire fig 2.

12. Section cinéma

1970/1

1971

Painted and pressed plastic panel

White background, black embossed

(The doors of the Museum, 19th Century

(87 x 121 cm)

Section)

Painted and pressed plastic panel

1969

7. Museum enfants non admis (Museum children not allowed)

Painted and pressed plastic panel

1968

4. Section littéraire fig 1.

Painted and pressed plastic panel 14. Les portes du Musée, section XIXe siècle

Black background (84.4 x 121 cm)

(The doors of the Museum, 19th Century

Painted and pressed plastic panel

Section)

(Literary Section fig.1) 1971

White background, black embossed 13. Les portes du Musée, section XIXe siècle

Black background (193 x 89 cm) x 2

Dark green background (84.5 x 121 cm)

1969 8. Service publicité

White background, red embossed

(Advertising Service)

(87 x 121 cm)

1971

Painted and pressed plastic panel

White background (84.5 x 121.5 cm) Painted and pressed plastic panel

19. Section cinéma (Cinema Section)

Light green background (84.5 x 121 cm)

1971

(Two works, each 50.5 x 75cm)

Painted and pressed plastic panel

(Literary Section fig.2)

(Publicity Service)

1972

embossed (41.5 x 102 cm)

1971

3. Service publicité

17. Museum-Museum

White background (193 x 89 cm) x 2 Painted and pressed plastic panel

(90 x 124.5 cm) Painted and pressed plastic panel


Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles