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Bereft of the distraction of landscape or rival architecture, the azure sky offers an ideal frame for Randa Mirza's subject.Mirza's work presently adorns the walls of Twin Galleries 2, one of two ground floor halls presently exhibiting "The City in the City," a group exhibition of contemporary cultural production on greater Beirut.The other shows can be read as efforts to look back through the lens of artistic production to discuss where Beirut comes from.While other museum exhibitions of contemporary art might privilege saleable art market gems for display, this show allots substantial space to documenting serious studies of the urban landscape that defy commodification.These valuable and stimulating pieces are unlikely to be found in most gallery spaces around Beirut."The City in the City" also samples work by a younger generation of Beirut contemporary artists, whose work is ordinarily hard to find displayed in town. This documentary-like 13-minute two-channel work mingles the artist's reflections with those of other informants to contemplate the disparity between past representations of Beirut (as reflected in the media) and contemporary realities, while suggesting such disparities aren't unique to this patch of the eastern Mediterranean.
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