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Myriam Ben Salah. Photo: Nicolas Cottong.

Myriam Ben Salah Named Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Renaissance Society

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago has appointed Myriam Ben Salah, cocurator of the fifth edition of the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A.” biennial, which has been rescheduled to July 19–January 3, 2021 because of Covid-19, as its next executive director and chief curator. She succeeds Solveig Øvstebø, who led the museum from 2013 until 2020, when she departed to join the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, and will be the third person to helm the institution since 1973.

“I welcome Myriam to Chicago and look forward to seeing her vision added to the legacy of the Renaissance Society,” said Richard Wright, president of the institution’s board of directors. “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.”

James Rondeau, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, added: “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.”

In addition to working at the Palais de Tokyo, Ben Salah served as the editor in chief of Kaleidoscope from 2016 until 2019, and she is currently editor at large of the publication. As an independent curator, she 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.

Commenting on her new post, which she will take up on September 15, Ben Salah said: “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.”

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