Figure 1: Graduates of the Fine and Performance Art Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB): Farid Haddad (Lebanon) and Jay Zerbe (USA). Photo from L’Orient, December 30, 1969. Farid Haddad Archive.
an online exhibit from the American University of Beirut, where i did my undergraduate work. seems so long ago!
At the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the Beirut artistic scene witnessed a series of artistic collaborations. At the heart of these exchanges were two young artists: one Lebanese and one American (Figure 1). The Lebanese Farid Haddad (b. 1945) graduated in 1969 from the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at the American University of Beirut and was working as a medical illustrator, while the American Jay Zerbe (b. 1949) was in 1969 in the junior year of his B.A. from the same department at AUB. In that year, and the year that followed, Haddad and Zerbe launched a series of exhibitions at AUB, as well as in various galleries outside campus. On other occasions, their collaborations added a third member, the Chinese-American painter Wen-ti Tsen, who taught at the International College (Figure 2). For this inquiry into the international history of the Beirut art world a few years before the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, we will focus on the Haddad-Zerbe bridge.