David Zwirner Has Recruited Rising-Star Art Dealer Ebony L. Haynes to Launch a New Manhattan ‘Kunsthalle’ With an All-Black Staff

The new space will host three to four exhibitions a year.

Ebony L. Haynes, 2020. Photo: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. Courtesy of David Zwirner.

David Zwirner has tapped gallerist Ebony L. Haynes to head a new exhibition-focused gallery and curatorial program in Manhattan, led by an all-Black staff.

Striking a balance between a traditional gallery and a non-commercial exhibition space, the new standalone venue will mount three or four curated shows a year, each accompanied by a publication. Works of art will be available for sale, but presentations won’t be limited to artists represented by Zwirner. 

“This will be a space like no other: a commercial art space, programmed with the time and consideration of a museum,” says Haynes, who most recently served as a director for Martos Gallery and Shoot the Lobster, in a statement. She compares the venture to a kunsthalle.

Haynes will step into her new director role on October 1. The location of the new space, the inaugural show, and other details will be announced in the coming months, according to the gallery. Until then, Haynes will work from Zwirner’s 19th Street gallery.

The Black Lives Matter protests of this summer once again laid bare the lack of diversity among those who hold positions of power in the art world, though the Zwirner and Haynes had been in discussion about the new initiative before that.

“Ebony and I started talking in January about the possibility of her joining the gallery,” Zwirner said in a statement. “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.”

A rising star in the art world, Haynes has helmed both Martos Gallery in New York and Shoot the Lobster in New York and LA since 2016. She organized a number of buzzed-about shows in that time, including “EBSPLOITATION,” a 2019 program of short films that recentered the Black experience, and “INVISIBLE MAN,” a 2017 exhibition of postminimalist sculpture by Torkwase Dyson, Kayode Ojo, Pope.L, and Jessica Vaughn.

She is currently a guest professor at the Yale School of Art, where she launched a monthly program of free art classes for Black students looking to learn more about the commercial art world this summer. Haynes’s space with Zwirner will also include an internship program for Black students.

“There aren’t enough places of access—especially in commercial galleries—for Black staff and for people of color to gain experience,” Haynes told the New York Times. “I want to make sure that I provide a space full of opportunities and encourage them.”

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