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The Aïshti Foundation, a cultural center dedicated to presenting contemporary art exhibitions and artworks from the private collection of Aïshti CEO Tony Salamé, opened its first permanent location in Beirut, Lebanon last month. The opening was celebrated with a series of events including a three-day tour of exhibitions by Richard Prince, Jeffrey Deitch, Massimiliano Gioni and a talk on art and architecture at the Sursock Museum. The opening events concluded with a cocktail party with guests such as Yvonne Bowden, Josh Ellman, Suzanne Geiss, Maurizio Cattelan, Dan Colen, Daniel Buren, Wade Guyton, Walead Beshty, Willem de Rooj, and Juergen Teller.
Designed by David Adjaye, the building brings together contemporary art within a commercial space that includes includes fashion boutiques, a curated bookshop, restaurants, cafes, a spa, and a rooftop bar with a seaside view of Beirut. The façade of Aïshti mixes contemporary structure with traditional Arabic geometric patterns with its red aluminum tubular structure applied to the building as an exoskeleton.
The inaugural exhibition, titled “New Skin” and curated by Gioni, features more than 2,000 works by a range of contemporary artists that explore the relationship between surface, texture, and form. Some of these artists include Tauba Auerbach, Urs Fischer, Seth Price, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Christopher Wool.
“After years of collecting and aspiring to some day give back to the Lebanese community, it’s a dream come true to launch the Aïshti Foundation, with Massimiliano Gioni curating the opening show in a building designed by David Adjay, said Salamé. “When I went through the collection with Massimiliano in new york and saw everything coming together, it was quite an emotional moment.” The collector hopes the foundation will bring attention to the city as a growing hub for the international art scene.