70m - Before it was a space, Ashkal Alwan was a concept. A traveling...
Beirut's Art Center
With the slew of new museums popping up (or in the works) across Beirut, it might be hard to imagine that back in 2006 there were no public art centers in Beirut. Private galleries dotted throughout the city mostly catered to art collectors, and wealthy patrons, featuring barely any public programming, with the exception of sporadic events organized by cultural groups (ashkal alwan, ayloul festival) without a central home. Enter Beirut Art Center (BAC) in 2006 - an ambitious initiative co-founded by Lebanese video artist Lamia Joreige, and gallerist/curator (formerly of Espace SD) Sandra Dagher.
The Center is not a museum (it has no permanent collection) and instead alternates exhibitions from world famous artists like Gerhard Richter to a yearly emerging artist show, Exposure. A public program features weekly talks, film screenings, and even events for children which are widely publicized both on BAC’s website and facebook page, as well as through targeted cooperation with local elementary schools.
The space itself is impressive. A wide, highly moldable white cube on the main floor (which is broken apart and rebuilt to accommodate each new exhibition). A small, state of the art auditorium hosts screenings, and the second floor is home to BAC Design a rotating collection of local design objects available for sale. The second floor also hosts the BAC Mediatheque, a vast collection of Lebanese, Arab, and other films and video art available to be watched on three private media booths with headphones. A pictueresque cafe and pub also extends on the beautiful terrace of the second floor, allowing one to enoy a coffee or glass of wine after a long and intellectually stimulating art experience.
Entrance is always free (although events/screenings often have a charge), and is open Tuesday-Sunday 11-7.