April 7th, 2011  Art

“How To Make [Nice] Things Happen” is a small publication edited by Mirene Arsanios, a founding member of the artists’ organization and research group called 98weeks. In the wake of heavy, political turmoil and civil war, there is a flourishing art-world in Beirut centered around art spaces and artist collectives. This booklet takes an interesting form, introducing a variety of past projects by way of roundtable discussions, interviews, short essays, and even television transcripts. But somehow it’s not a book about the projects at all. It’s more like a how-to manual, exposing the ways in which young artists went about self-organizing and producing these exhibitions and project spaces. There is enough historical context to understand the circumstances in which these artist movements were born, and the dialogue acts as a clear recording of these small victories in the Lebanese art scene. More importantly it is a text which aims to teach. “[Nice]” pays as much attention to the errors and mis-steps made by these pioneers as to their final solutions. “Rule number one in fund raising: LIE!” Pretty legit advice.

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