Apr 20, 2020

Announcing Myriam Ben Salah as Executive Director and Chief Curator

Photo: Nicolas Cottong

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago will appoint Myriam Ben Salah as Executive Director and Chief Curator effective September 15, 2020.

Ben Salah, a Tunisian curator and writer, is currently co-organizing Made in LA. 2020 at the Hammer Museum and The Huntington Library. She follows Solveig Øvstebø who led the museum from 2013 until 2020, and will be the Ren’s third leader since 1973. In her role, Ben Salah will continue and expand the Ren’s critical relationship with the University of Chicago.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Richard Wright, president, says “I welcome Myriam to Chicago and look forward to seeing her vision added to the legacy of the Renaissance Society. Thanks to Solveig’s leadership, an outstanding staff and board, and a clear-eyed commitment to our mission, the Ren has never been stronger as an institution. We are all excited to see how her curatorial work opens up exciting new spaces, shaping the Ren’s next chapter.”

Myriam Ben Salah was formerly curator of Special Projects and Public Programs at the Palais de Tokyo. She served as the Editor-in-Chief of Kaleidoscope from 2016 until 2019, and she is currently Editor-at-Large at the publication. As an independent curator working internationally, Ben Salah has organized exhibitions and screenings at numerous institutions, including the Lazaar Foundation (Tunisia), Kadist (Paris and San Francisco) Kunsthalle Stavanger (Norway), Fahrenheit (Los Angeles), and the Beirut Art Center.

James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago says, “I am eager to join the rest of the arts community in Chicago to welcome Myriam as a colleague and peer. Myriam’s attentive, bracing work across institutions, artist-run spaces and publications will allow the Renaissance Society to continue to grow as an exciting locus of the city’s creative thought. Her range of expertise, particularly in geographies and narratives presently not being fully addressed in the United States, will assuredly spark new thinking and making. I anticipate a rich and rewarding tenure, and the Art Institute of Chicago will be both a partner and a beneficiary.”

At the Renaissance Society, she will bring her singular curatorial vision, drawing on an international experience and a decompartmentalized approach to art making. She will pursue at the Ren, through exhibitions and public programs, her work with emerging artists and experimental practitioners in Chicago and beyond.

Ben Salah states, “I am truly honored to join the Renaissance Society and to follow in the footsteps of many esteemed colleagues. The Ren has had some of the most thoughtful and inspiring programming in the field. I look forward to charting a course among its rich history of experimentation and to be working with artists on their most radical projects, pushing the boundaries of what art can be and of what art can do.”

Please direct inquiries to Jessica Cochran, cochranj@uchicago.edu.