DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY has hired Kyla McMillan as a director. The gallery has locations in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong. McMillan will be based in Chelsea (New York) with a portfolio focused on artist management and sales. She begins at David Zwirner Oct. 15. The appointment was first reported today by ARTnews.

“I am thrilled to join David Zwirner at a time that feels very important and exciting. I am a longtime fan of the gallery, and I look forward to working with the incredible artists and staff,” McMillan said in a gallery statement.

David Zwirner said: “I am delighted to welcome Kyla to the gallery, and can’t wait to introduce her to the entire team.”

McMillan previously served as a director at Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York. The gallery represented artists Peter Doig, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Arthur Jafa, Joan Jonas, Alex Katz, and Frida Orupabo, among others. In July, Brown announced he was closing the gallery and partnering with Barbara Gladstone at Gladstone Gallery.

McMillan spent three years at Gavin Brown serving as an artist liaison for 11 gallery artists, including Orupabo, Laura Owens, Uri Aran, and Rachel Rose. She organized Cy Gavin’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and Rob Pruitt’s “The Obama Paintings” show at the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago, according to ARTnews. She also managed marketing and communications at Gavin Brown and worked with private collectors and institutions on primary- and secondary- market acquisitions.

“I am thrilled to join David Zwirner at a time that feels very important and exciting.” — Kyla McMillan

Earlier in her career, McMillan worked with adidas as a strategist on digital projects and was a Johannesburg-based arts communications consultant with clients including the JoBurg Art Fair. She held prior positions at Resnicow and Associates and Alexander Gray Associates in New York. McMillan was also an intern in the director’s office at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree in art history, with a minor in journalism, from the University of Maryland, College Park.

When David Driskell died on April 1, McMillan posted a tribute on Instagram to the legendary artist, curator, art historian, and educator.

McMillan said: “I worked at The David C. Driskell Center all four years I spent at University of Maryland. I used to love reading through Dr. Driskell’s archives—his letters to artist friends, black leaders, students. He was always, always willing to share his insights. Last year, I ran into him at the Colby College Museum of Art luncheon and he greeted me with a smile and hug and said he was glad to see I was still involved in the arts. I felt so proud. I am forever grateful to him for his generosity and wisdom.”

Driskell would no doubt appreciate her latest involvement in the arts. Black representation in the gallery world is profoundly lacking. Few galleries, particularly major galleries in the United States, have Black directors, senior-level team members representing artists through sales and management. McMillan participates in Entre Nous, a dinner club and source of support and networking for Black women in the art world, mostly gallery directors in New York.

The rarified group is “a necessity,” McMillan told The Cut. She added: “When you’re part of a community that has been marginalized—whether it’s the black community or women at large—there’s this myth that we have to be in competition, and the truth is there is room enough for all of us to flourish.”

McMillan’s new appointment is significant. David Zwirner is considered one of a handful of mega galleries. It has a global footprint and a roster of more than 70 highly acclaimed artists, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Stan Douglas, Kerry James Marshall, Oscar Murillo, Chris Ofili, and the estates of Roy DeCarava and Noah Davis. The gallery presented an exhibition of Charles White works last year. In London, the gallery is currently showing new paintings by Zimbabwean artist Portia Zvavahera. The exhibition is her first solo show in Europe.

“This past year has demonstrated that shifts in our industry are not just inevitable, they’re necessary,” McMillan told ARTnews. “I believe I’m evidence that change is good. I don’t fit the typical gallery-director mold: I’m a first-generation, Black woman who has spent the majority of my career working outside of New York galleries. I consider all of these things assets because it informs my questioning of why things are done the way they are and if there’s a better way to do them.” CT

 

CORRECTION (09/21/20): LaToya Ruby Frazier was erroneously included among the artists Kyla McMillan worked directly with during her tenure at Gavin Brown’s enterprise. Frazier was represented by the gallery, but McMillan was not her liaison. The story has been updated to reflect this correction.

 

BOOKSHELF
“Noah Davis” is a new publication from David Zwirner Books. Edited by Helen Molesworth, the volume “provides a critical record” of the late Los Angeles-based painter. The gallery collaborated with Sherry Turner DeCarava on a trio of volumes: “Roy DeCarava: Light Break,” “Roy DeCarava: the sound i saw,” and a reprint of “The Sweet Flypaper of Life.” David Zwirner also recently published “Kerry James Marshall: History of Painting.”

 

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