• Marcel Broodthaers—The Architect is Absent
    Stefaan Vervoort
    Sternberg Press, 2025
    Stefaan Vervoort

Julien Coulommier, “Marcel Broodthaers at the construction site of the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels,” 1957. Photograph, 10 x 10 in. Courtesy Jan and Tarri Coulommier. Copyright Julien Coulommier

Marcel Broodthaers (1924–1976) is an internationally recognized artist best known for his mussel and poetry pieces and his fictional museum project, Musée d'art moderne (1968–72). Yet Broodthaers in the late 1950s and the 1960s made many allusions to architecture and urban planning, from articles on modernized Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris and urban photographs to brick objects, works evoking towers, and his oft-cited quip “l’architecte est absent.” This book unpacks Broodthaers’ dealing with architecture as a cypher of postwar modernization, functionalism, and technology, for the first time. Through a careful formal, critical, and historical interpretation of works and archival documents both known and unpublished, it unearths architecture as a key theme in Broodthaers’ oeuvre, ranging from his debut as an artist to his dialogue with international peers like art critic Pierre Restany (1930–2003) and artist Yves Klein (1928–1962), to collaborations with local architect Constantin Brodzki (1924–2021) and architecture critic Pierre Puttemans (1933–2013).

Stefaan Vervoort is a postdoctoral researcher and a founding member of the research group KB45 (Art in Belgium since 1945) at the department of art history, musicology, and theatre studies of Ghent University (UGent). He holds a master’s degree in architecture and engineering from UGent’s Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, an MPhil in visual arts, media, and architecture from Vrije University Amsterdam, and a PhD in architecture and engineering from UGent. He previously taught at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Rotterdam’s Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, Antwerp’s College of Art, and LUCA School of Arts, Brussels. In 2023 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. He is a researcher in residence at CIVA, Brussels where he is curating an exhibition and hosting an international conference on Marcel Broodthaers. His research has been published in books, catalogues, and art and architecture journals.