One of the things I complain most often about is that Beirut is not New York.
There’s so much to love about Lebanon, but the lack of public parks, functioning sidewalks and just general things to do can make this city a drag on a Saturday afternoon. Manhattan has mastered the art of offering something to fill every millisecond of your existence, and sometimes you crave those worthwhile distractions. Here in Beirut I’ve found one in the Metropolitan Art Society.
Metropolitan Art Society (MAS Beirut) opened last year in a 19th-century Ottoman-style house and hosts an impressive collection of contemporary art from Lebanon and abroad. What makes it such a find though is its lack of pretention. This is the kind of space you can browse comfortably, without a frigid gallerist sizing you up over horn-rimmed bifocals. Coincidentally, it’s in Monot, one of the easiest neighborhoods to explore on foot and home to Café Diem, a quaint spot to catch up with friends over coffee.
“Forever”, an exhibition curated in partnership with the New York-based Suzanne Geiss Company, is on now at the gallery and features works by Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Ryan Johnson and Brian Scott Campbell, among others.
Take my advice and make an afternoon of it. You’ll forget you ever missed another city.
Official address: Trabaud Street, Achrafieh
By service: Ask the service driver to take you to Hotel Albergo. Get out at the last perpendicular street before the hotel, and take your right. The gallery will be on your left, and you’ll know you’re in the right place if you see La Posta restaurant.
A shot of Tim Noble & Sue Webster at the opening night of “Forever” at MAS Beirut