Art in Lebanon

July 30, 2000
In Lebanon, lack of funds and political support for a museum of modern art has turned each gallery owner (be they experienced or novices in this field) into a curator governing their own micro-museum. It is sad to note that those who esteem themselves as being at the top of the pyramid of modernity and aesthetic refinement have fallen unto the same trap as curators of Western Museums. With the difference that here, as obtaining international “ stars” of art is impossible due to lack of funds and also lack of art collectors with that kind of money to spend (or should I say invest) on art… they encourage local artists who paint ‘in the style of’…without the honesty of admitting the influence (with the exception of R.I.P. Helen Khal who used to say…if you can’t afford a Rothko, buy my “Rothkos”) thus encouraging boring imitations instead of urging local artists to find their own visual language bred from emotions and experiences they personally felt. With the advent of digital photography and films, convenient computers and easy to master programmes, anyone and everyone has turned into an artist, a photographer, a film-maker and a graphic designer. The result is not a boost of creativity but rather a wasteland of boredom.