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S.M.A.K.

The Contemporary Art Museum Association was created on 8 November 1957 at the instigation of Karel Geirlandt. The idea was to develop an independent museum that would act as a showcase for contemporary trends in the world of art. It was perceived that the Museum of Fine Arts was out of touch with current artistic trends. The older art historical model needed to be invested with a less rigid structure so as to be more closely in tune with contemporary artistic activities. Fresh momentum was given in 1996 with the opening of the 'Rode Poort', which was the inaugural exhibition for the Museum in its new but temporary premises. The definitive Museum was due to be opened in late 1998 when it would be moved into refurbished premises of what used to be a casino. Renamed S.M.A.K. (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst) the Museum doors were thrown open to the public on 7 May 1999 where visitors were treated to an ambitious exhibition. Located opposite the Museum of Fine Arts the two museums now form an artistic haven in a city park located on the outskirts of Ghent.