Richard Prince to Create 20 New Works For Beirut Retail Magnate Tony Salamé

Richard Prince. Photo: AP
Tony Salamé. Photo: courtesy of Business of Fashion.

Tony Salamé.
Photo: courtesy of Business of Fashion.

Tony Salamé, a retail magnate from Beirut, is rapidly changing the cultural and architectural landscape of Lebanon.

The founder of Aïshti, a luxury chain stocking the likes of Céline, Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chloé, is investing $100 million into a new 40,000 square-foot David Adjaye-designed contemporary art exhibition space in Jal El Dib, a resort area east of Beirut. The space will display works from Salamé’s extensive art collection, which spans 2,000 works by 150 artists

Salamé began buying art in 2003, initially snapping up Arte Povera works by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Giuseppe Penone, according to the Financial TimesHis collection now includes works by contemporary artists Wade Guyton, Danh Vō, Franz West, Carol Bove, Gerhard Richter, and Christopher Wool, to name a few.

At Art Basel in Basel this year, Salamé purchased 24 dyed canvases by Sam Falls, which was exhibited at the fair’s Unlimited sector, as well as works by John Armleder, Tauba Auerbach, and Albert Oehlen. Salamé recently commissioned 20 new artworks by Richard Prince for his stores in Beirut, the Art Newspaper reports.

Rendering of the Aïshti Foundation by Adjaye Associates. Photo: courtesy of Aïshti Foundation.

Rendering of the Aïshti Foundation by Adjaye Associates.
Photo: courtesy of Aïshti Foundation.

The planned Aïshti Foundation museum will launch with an inaugural exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the artistic director of New York’s New Museum.

“Private museums play a key cultural role in emerging markets,” Salamé told Wallpaper magazine. “They establish a dialogue between societies in developing countries like Lebanon and other nations in the region and in the West.”

His foundation has lent artworks to a number of museums abroad, including the former Garage museum in Moscow, the Aspen Art Museum, Waserburg Museum of Modern Art in Bremen, Germany, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and the Whitney Museum in New York. Most recently, the foundation lent works by Kerstin Bratsch, Joe Bradley, and Micaela Eichwaled to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for its exhibition titled, “Forever Now: Contemporary Painting.”

As for the king of appropriation, “[Prince] plans to hang a specific piece in every store in a unique way,” the Aïshti CEO said.

It looks like the “suicide girls” fiasco has died down, and now it’s business as usual for the artist.

Richard Prince. Photo: AP

Richard Prince.
Photo: AP

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