Mapping Art in the Industrial North Periphery of Beirut
The Case of Corniche el-Nahr
Since 2005, the areas surrounding Nahr Beirut—the river that cuts through the northeastern border of Lebanon’s capital city—became subject to the development of “art worlds” (Becker). Specifically, the neighborhood of Corniche el-Nahr became host to art-related activities in museums, galleries, studios, artist residencies, and interdisciplinary spaces. At the same time, real estate developments began to transform the urban landscapes of the areas surrounding Nahr Beirut, especially in terms of housing and architecture. In this article, I aim to untangle the interconnections between artistic activities and real estate development around Nahr Beirut in the northeastern periphery of Lebanon’s capital. First, I examine the underlying conditions that led to the establishment of art institutions in the periphery. Second, by focusing on the rebranding campaign of Corniche el-Nahr, on the construction of mixed-use buildings and on the impact of these projects on local economies, I analyze the way arts worlds are embedded in the material and non-material transformation processes in these peripheral areas. Finally, I study the connections between art worlds and urban transformation, which led art professionals to question their practices within this urban context.
Copyright (c) 2022 Sasha Moujaes
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