#65: Salsali Private Museum

My name is Danna Lorch and I would like to adopt Salsali Private Museum.

Image courtesy of Salsali Private Museum

Tell us a bit more about yourself
I am an American writer and poet based in the desert paradise of Dubai. In my other life I’m in the humanitarian development field and have directed major international NGOs in refugee camps, townships, overcrowded schools and public hospitals in the Middle East and Africa. When I first moved to Dubai I felt lost amidst all the iconic glitter until I discovered an incredible emerging arts scene. It was too intriguing not to write about. I blog about art and pop culture from the Middle East at ‘Danna Writes’.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
Salsali Private Museum (SPM) is the first private museum for contemporary art to be opened in the Middle East and was founded in 2011 by long time collector Ramin Salsali, who nurtured a lifelong dream to share art with the public free of charge. SPM is unexpectedly located in a warehouse within Dubai’s industrial area of Al Quoz. It is nestled within Alserkal Avenue, a former marble factory that now provides space to more than 20 galleries. Surrounding SPM auto repair shops, gritty factories, and labourer housing compounds.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
When I first arrived in Dubai I felt like I’d moved to a strange moonscape complete with camels, sand, Ferraris, and tall women in cocktail dresses with perfect hair. When I stepped into SPM for the first time and saw Reza Derakshani’s flashing neon sign playfully reading, “This is not a museum/This is a museum,” I knew I had found my niche for belonging to this city—the place that would eventually inspire me to start my own blog. I’ve returned to SPM loads of times since then and love how it’s constantly commissioning new works and holding the region’s most edgy openings.

Why would you recommend people visit?
Just finding SPM is a cultural experience. It is always completely free to enter and there is always something new to take in—usually the very riskiest and prestigious of the region’s contemporary art offerings. It is situated close to the entrance of Alserkal Avenue and is the best orientation point for gaging the area’s artistic pulse before wandering through the surrounding galleries. Although the setting feels exclusive and is frequented by some of the world’s leading curators, artists, and museum directors, your babies, children, and free spirits are just as welcome.

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Edgy. Regional. Public.

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