THE LATEST HIRE at David Zwirner negotiated a sweet deal. Ebony L. Haynes is joining the gallery as a director and she is launching her own exhibition program in a new stand-alone space in Manhattan.

Expected to open in spring 2021, the location of the gallery and inaugural exhibition will be announced in the coming months.

Haynes intends to employ an all-Black staff in order to provide access and opportunities and create a pipeline of talent in the commercial gallery field where Black representation is wanting.

“Ebony and I started talking in January about the possibility of her joining the gallery. Over the course of our conversations, Ebony introduced me to her much more ambitious idea. Like so many of Ebony’s stellar exhibitions and projects, this space will undoubtedly create a new mold for gallery programming today. I am so excited to work with her on realizing her vision,” David Zwirner said in a statement.

“This will be a space like no other: a commercial art space, programmed with the time and consideration of a museum; my ‘Kunsthalle,’” said Haynes. She starts at Zwirner Oct. 1.

Most recently, Haynes served as a director at Martos Gallery in New York and its sister space Shoot the Lobster, with locations in New York and Los Angeles. Previously, she was an associate director and artist liaison at Mitchell-Innes & Nash and, before that, an associate director at Foxy Production gallery, both in New York City.

A curator, writer, and art dealer, Haynes is from Toronto, Canada. She earned a master of arts degree in art criticism and curatorial practice from Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) University in Toronto. She is a guest professor and critic at the Yale School of Art.

In July, Haynes started offering Black Art Sessions, free informal classes specifically for Black art students interested in working in a gallery. She promoted the opportunity on Instagram as a chance for students to ask about how to get a gallery job, start their own gallery, understand the role of curating in a gallery, and the difference between working in a museum as opposed to a gallery, and anything else they are curious about. Haynes said she would share her own experiences with students and hoped she could be “helpful” and “useful.”

“This will be a space like no other: a commercial art space, programmed with the time and consideration of a museum; my ‘Kunsthalle.’”
— Ebony L. Haynes

For the venture she is leading at Zwirner, Haynes anticipates a schedule of three to four exhibitions a year and plans to produce a small publication with each show. There will also be public talks and online content. In addition, the gallery space will host a paid internship program exclusively serving Black students.

Haynes will present a diverse roster of artists, in terms of backgrounds and mediums, with an emphasis on Black artists. To The New York Times, where the appointment was first reported, she mentioned four artists with whom she’s interested in working: Nikita Gale, Cameron Rowland, Nora Turato, and Kandis Williams. (The Black Art Sessions are hosted by Cassandra Press, a publishing and education platform founded by Williams.)

David Zwirner laid off nearly 40 employees two months ago, due to a projected 30 percent decrease in revenue by the end of the year, the gallery said. Nevertheless, about two weeks ago, the gallery announced it was hiring Kyla McMillan, who is Black, as a director. Now comes news that Haynes is joining the gallery.

Shedding light on the latest appointment, Zwirner cited the woeful hiring record among galleries when it comes to people of color. “While you could argue that strides have been made on the artist side, the art world acts almost shamefully on the employment side,” Zwirner told The Times. “Something has to happen.” CT


IMAGE: Ebony L. Haynes, 2020. | Photo by Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.


FIND MORE In June, Ebony L. Haynes talked to Lauren Wetmore on the Momus podcast about her experiences working in the gallery world

FIND MORE At the Hammer Museum, Ebony L. Haynes was in conversation with artists Devin Troy Strother and Kandis Williams


READ MORE Ebony L. Haynes spoke to Collecteurs about the concept behind Shoot the Lobster and broader gallery issues

READ MORE A profile published by The Cut about Entre Nous, a dinner club for Black female gallerists in New York, featured Ebony L. Haynes


“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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