Art & the city

Beirut Ar t Fair has be­come an es­sen­tial par t of Beirut’s vi­brant ar ts scene. We speak to its founder and di­rec­tor, Laure d’hauteville on its evo­lu­tion and her es­sen­tial spots to see ar t in the city

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Beirut has a long history as a des­ti­na­tion for art that only keeps evolv­ing fur­ther. With 48 art gal­leries and art spa­ces, 32 arche­o­log­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal and the­matic art mu­se­ums and two mu­se­ums set to open soon (sourced from

Agenda Cul­turel, agen­da­cul­turel.com) there is a vi­brant art scene that con­tin­ues to thrive. Beirut Art Fair (BAF), which launched in 2010, has es­tab­lished it­self on the re­gional and global arts scene with a fo­cus on art from the Mid­dle East, North Africa and South Asia, at­tract­ing gal­leries, visi­tors and col­lec­tors to the cap­i­tal city. “Ev­ery year, Beirut Art Fair brings to­gether gal­leries that present both renowned artists and emerg­ing tal­ents. It is a fas­ci­nat­ing des­ti­na­tion to dis­cover art. We have more and more gal­leries, more visi­tors and art col­lec­tors com­ing from out­side Le­banon,” says Laure d’hauteville, BAF’S founder and di­rec­tor. This year, the an­nual ar t fair will re­ceive around 50 in­ter­na­tional mod­ern and con­tem­po­rar y ar t and de­sign galler ies, show­cas­ing new trends across a var iety of medi­ums from both emerg­ing and es­tab­lished ar tists. With an aim to cre­ate an ex­clu­sive meet­ing point be­tween the East and the West, BAF is at­tract­ing ar t en­thu­si­asts from all over the world and help­ing re­po­si­tion Beirut as the cul­tural and in­tel­lec­tual cap­i­tal of the Arab world. It’s also contr ibut­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of Beirut’s ar t scene. “BAF has be­come a prom­i­nent show­case of de­sign and cre­ativ­ity within the ar t mar­ket,” says d’hauteville. “It is a unique source of in­for­ma­tion on trends, galler ies, ar tists, and in­sti­tu­tions, which contr ibute to the rapid growth of ar t in the re­gion. Our pas­sion is to nur ture an in­spir ing world­wide di­a­logue through ar t and our de­sire is to stay on the fore­front of the ar t scene.” She be­lieves that it’s an im­por­tant time for Le­banon, a countr y that has al­ways been open to the ar ts, as it finds its in­ter­na­tional rel­e­vance again; “In Europe, the Le­banese ar t scene fas­ci­nates ever y ar t spe­cial­ist.” Held si­mul­ta­ne­ously with BAF, Beirut Art Week (BAW) brings the city to life; show­cas­ing art be­yond the walls of the art gallery in the streets and bou­tiques of Down­town dis­trict. “Beirut lives un­der the rhythm of con­tem­po­rary art, thus, the artists are in­vited to ex­press them­selves in the ur­ban land­scape of the cap­i­tal. BAW is a way to re-dis­cover the fa­mous ar­chi­tec­ture of Beirut, and the bou­tiques are do­ing a great job by ac­cept­ing to dis­play art in their show­cases,” says d’hauteville. This year BAW fea­tures 24 in­ter­ac­tive projects by artists and de­sign­ers, show­cased around Beirut’s sym­bolic land­marks such as Mar­tyr’s Square, Beirut Souks, Zaitu­nay Bay, Saifi Vil­lage and Har­bour Square.

Mona Ha­toum, Im­pen­e­tra­ble (s ver­sion) – Steel, fish­ing wire, Cour­tesy Saradar Col­lec­tion

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