In 1961, the Sursock Museum opened, according to the will of Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock. He wanted to leave his estate as a museum to help define the public taste in Lebanon.
Maru Pabón reviews a recent exhibition titled Ten Stories from the Sursock Museum Collection 1923 – 2016. It is set up as ten stories (or conversations) between those in favor of abstraction and those who aren’t. The main question is whether abstraction makes the art more universal or simply wards off “Orientalist expectations.”
Are Western artists the only ones who make abstract work? It seems clear that abstraction was not limited to the West. But perhaps, the Arab artists had a different reason for abstraction. Pabón suggests that the western abstractionists wanted to manipulate material reality, but the Arab artists were concerned more with inward movement.