brussels, metro explosion.jpg
Photograph: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Like the rest of the Belgian capital, Brussels' brand-new street-art museum was deeply rocked by terrorist attacks March 22

Though the building has since opened, three weeks late, the effects of the bloody attacks on the city's cultural and artistic scene remain palpable, with some museums reporting a 40-per-cent drop in visitor numbers. The situation has now even prompted one government official to get involved by proposing financial aid.

"It was a shock that will continue to reverberate for a while," says Raphael Cruyt. The 42-year-old says that he and the three other founders of the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA) had originally hoped to bring in up to 30,000 visitors in its first year.

The museum's inaugural exhibit City Lights features pieces by international street artists and collectives such as Faile and Maya Hayuk, with the entire basement devoted to works by the US artist Swoon, known for her life-size figures made using recycled newspaper.

MIMA, which can be found in a former brewery along the Charleroi Canal, is not the only museum having to adjust after the attacks.

Visitors at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium can observe the works of the internationally known artist and provocateur Andres Serrano, whose exhibit includes newer works depicting the homeless in Brussels as well as older ones portraying sex and violence that were vandalized during earlier shows due to their scandalous nature.

The exhibit opened March 18, the same day Salah Abdeslam - believed to be the only survivor from a group of terrorists who left 130 dead in one bloody November night in Paris - was detained by Belgian authorities.

After the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels four days after Abdeslam's arrest, the exhibit was shut until March 25. The subjects depicted in the 65-year-old artist's works - death, violence and religion - certainly didn't make publicity for the exhibit easier afterward, says Samir al-Haddad, who works for the museum.

The number of visitors to the museum in Brussels' centre has fallen by 40 per cent, says Elke Sleurs, state secretary for urban policy and equality. She has proposed giving the museum a 50,000-euro (56,000-dollar) boost, and in total would like to free up 170,000 euros for four art and cultural institutions that have seen their visitor numbers fall in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Others would be helped through advertising and publicity, she added.

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."