THE QUEENS MUSEUM in Queens, N.Y., announced the appointment of Lauren Haynes as director of curatorial affairs and programs this morning.

Haynes spent a decade on the curatorial team at the Studio Museum in Harlem, departing in 2016 to join the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. Last year, she accepted an appointment at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. After six years in the South, Haynes is returning to New York City taking on a newly created role at the Queens Museum, where she officially starts in mid-July.


Curator Lauren Haynes. | Photo by Kevin Beasley, Courtesy Queens Museum


The upper ranks of New York’s museums have seen some change in recent years. With the appointment of Haynes at the Queens Museum, Black women will be serving in lead curatorial or deputy director roles at six of the city’s key mainstream art museums.

She joins fellow Studio Museum alum Naomi Beckwith, now deputy director and chief curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Adrienne Edwards, curator and director of curatorial affairs at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Isolde Brielmaier, deputy director at the New Museum; Beverly Morgan-Welch, senior deputy director at the Museum of Modern Art; and Shirley Solomon, deputy director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

“Lauren is an exceptional curator who has spent her career championing artists and working to build a more inclusive canon,” Sally Tallant, president and executive director of the Queens Museum, said in a statement. “Her thoughtful vision, combined with her leadership experience, makes her a wonderful addition to the Queens Museum team, and I am thrilled to be working with her and welcoming her back to New York.”

“Lauren is an exceptional curator who has spent her career championing artists and working to build a more inclusive canon. Her thoughtful vision, combined with her leadership experience, makes her a wonderful addition to the Queens Museum team.” — Queens Museum Director Sally Tallant

Haynes comes to the Queens Museum from the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University where she has been serving Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Senior Curator of Contemporary Art since June 2021. She is curator of the forthcoming exhibition “Beyond the Surface: Collage, Mixed Media and Textile Works from the Collection,” opening in June at the Nasher. She also co-curated “Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now,” which is currently on view at the museum.

At the Crystal Bridges, Haynes was promoted to director of artist initiatives and curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges and The Momentary, the museum’s satellite contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville. During her five-year tenure (2016-2021), she oversaw significant acquisitions, exhibitions, and programming.

Haynes led the curatorial team that organized “State of the Art 2020,” an expansive exhibition showcasing an intergenerational slate of 61 artists from throughout the nation that was presented across Crystal Bridges and The Momentary; coordinated the first U.S. presentation of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” (2018); and co-curated “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art” (2018).

After earning a bachelor’s degree in art history from Oberlin College, Haynes joined the Studio Museum, rising from curatorial assistant to associate curator (2006-16). She organized exhibitions, led the famed artist-in-residence program, and served as steward of the museum’s renowned permanent collection.

During her tenure at the Studio Museum, Haynes curated a major “Alma Thomas” exhibition (2016) and also organized “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange” (2015), “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing” (2015), and “Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art” (2014-15), among other presentations.

The curator said she is looking forward to taking on a new opportunity in the city where her career first began to take shape.

“The Queens Museum is an institution I have long admired,” Haynes said in the appointment announcement. “Its connection to both global and local communities and embrace of diverse artistic practices provides unique opportunities for experimentation and radical inclusivity. After many years away, I am excited to make my return to New York, where I spent much of my early career, and to contribute towards the incredible and important work the Museum is doing.” CT


FIND MORE about recent curatorial appointments on Culture Type


In addition to co-authoring the exhibition catalog Alma Thomas, curator Lauren Haynes has published and contributed to several publications. The volumes include “Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art,” and “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange,” as well as “The Bearden Project” and “Fore.” More recently, she co-authored “Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today” and contributed to “Trenton Doyle Hancock: Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass,” “Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art,” and “Jordan Casteel: Within Reach.” She also contributed to “Sarah Cain: Enter the Center,” which is forthcoming in July.


Do you enjoy and value Culture Type? Please consider supporting its ongoing production by making a donation. Culture Type is an independent editorial project that requires countless hours and expense to research, report, write, and produce. To help sustain it, make a one-time donation or sign up for a recurring monthly contribution. It only takes a minute. Many Thanks for Your Support.