Myriam Ben Salah

  • Myriam Ben Salah’s top ten highlights of 2020

    Myriam Ben Salah is the director and chief curator of the Renaissance Society in Chicago. She recently organized (with Lauren Mackler and Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi) Made in L.A. 2020: “a version,” the fifth edition of the Hammer Museum’s biennial in Los Angeles.


    “Force Life/Shelf Life” was a provocative overlap of two exhibitions, a double meditation on the limits—in space, in time, in theory—of the body, one preferably without organs, one that flirts with technology. Nashat and Linder

  • Left: Artist Neïl Beloufa and Mehdi Moujane. Right: Collector Hamidreza Pejman and artist Mamali Shafahi.
    diary February 20, 2017

    Reality Check

    “I DON’T THINK I’M GOING,” I told a friend the day I was supposed to fly to Tehran. The White House had just released a draft of the executive order banning entry to the United States for nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Iran. The order wasn’t final yet, so on top of the profound despair over global politics, there was a certain confusion about concrete travel processes, especially for holders of passports from other majority-Muslim countries—including yours truly.

    “If you don’t go to Tehran you’ll regret it,” said my friend. “And eating kebab in Westwood won’t make up

  • Left: Dealer Eva Presenhuber. Right: Mavra with Parkett cofounders Jacqueline Burckhardt and Bice Curiger. (Except where noted, all photos: Myriam Ben Salah)
    diary September 03, 2014

    Before the Fall

    REMEMBER SUMMER? I ended mine with one foot already in the fall season, nabbing a four-hour train to Zurich for last weekend’s early-bird, back-to-school opening rush, where many an art acolyte sought to show off her tan before the great fall fade.

    Thankfully, it was an inspiring congregation of shows, and a solid reminder that sometimes it’s worth sacrificing one’s tan (and sleep schedule) for some great art. I wasted no time when I arrived on Friday, running straight to the intimate lunch at la Terrasse in honor of Dorothy Iannone’s show at the Migros Museum. There, her longtime collector

  • Left: Collector Andy Stilpass and MiArt's director Vincenzo de Bellis. Right: Fashion designers Dean and Dan Caten, Lapo Elkann, and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. (All photos: Myriam Ben Salah)
    diary April 02, 2014

    Mi Favorite Things

    NO LONGER just a place for sensible flats and fluorescent sneakers, the nineteenth edition of the MiArt fair was more sophisticated, more fashionable, more international. That’s the good news. The bad news is, serious fashion comes at a cost. So when I heard that a dealer had broken her toe walking in high heels during the install day, my most optimistic thought was, MiArt has reached a whole new level.

    Last year was Vincenzo de Bellis’s first as director, and already he’s upped the ante, bringing the fair that much closer to a mandatory stop on the competitive art-world circuit. On top of the

  • View of “Dieter Roth and Björn Roth,” 2013–14. Foreground: Björn Roth, Oddur Roth, and Einar Roth with Davíd Por Jonsson, The Relatively New Sculpture, 2013. Background: Dieter Roth, Solo Scenes, 1997–98.

    Dieter Roth and Björn Roth

    “Islands,” which comprises one hundred works in 48,000 square feet of demanding postindustrial space and marks Vicente Todolí’s trial run as HangarBicocca’s artistic adviser, is a massive show, big enough to encompass Dieter Roth’s total lifetime undertaking of smashing and annihilating boundaries, whether temporal, spatial, or conceptual. Making radical contributions to performance, sculpture, painting, poetry, graphic design, publishing, filmmaking, and music, Roth seemed to aim more than any other artist at an ensured permanency or—better yet—immortality. Supporting that legacy,

  • Left: Artissima director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto and foundation president Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Right: Artissima opening. (Photos: Lauren O’Neill-Butler)
    diary November 18, 2013

    Turin Shuffle

    THE TIME OF FOMO IS NOW. If you are not somewhere, you “should” be. Not only do you have to deal with your compulsive inner guilt; you also have to hear and see people bragging about being there, in real time, across various digital platforms. This year, I didn’t plan to go to Artissima. I even missed the opening, thinking that my absence would be the ultimate antidote to get through my withdrawal. But it was those continuous hashtag salads of #whitetruffle and #sparklingprosecco that made me give way and book a ticket. I actually still don’t know whether I first succumbed to collector Sandra

  • Left: Gelitin performs at Teatro Arsenale. Right: MiArt director Vincenzo de Bellis. (All photos: Myriam Ben Salah)
    diary April 09, 2013

    Nice Job

    “SOMETHING NICE IS HAPPENING IN MILAN,” read the VIP tote bags for the eighteenth edition of MiArt. Usually nice things happening in Milan involve fashion or design, sometimes food, often partying, but hardly ever art fairs. In spite of the city’s dynamic constellation of galleries and vibrant art scene, prior editions of MiArt didn’t quite hit the mark. That said, a local confidant insisted that this year’s edition would be worth an (easyJet) flight, asserting that its newly appointed director, curator and critic Vincenzo de Bellis, was planning to make more than nice.

    It doesn’t take much to