NYC - The Official Guide

Q&A with David Zwirner Director Ebony L. Haynes

Rachael Roth
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Art dealer, writer and curator Ebony L. Haynes is a newly appointed director at David Zwirner, for whom she’ll open a gallery this fall. She is also a guest professor and curator at the Yale School of Art and founded the Black Art Sessions with Cassandra Press. Formerly the director at Chinatown’s Martos Gallery, she will focus on individual shows in a kunsthalle-style gallery—with just three or four shows a year, the space will display art for longer than a typical commercial gallery usually does (though the art will still be for sale), giving them the kind of consideration usually reserved for museum exhibits.

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Photo: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Courtesy, David Zwirner

Which New York City–based women artists are catching your eye right now? 
Ebony L. Haynes:
Jessica Vaughn, Tau Lewis, Park McArthur, Naudline Pierre, E. Jane, Raque Ford, Maggie Lee.

Virtual platforms have served as stand-ins for galleries to showcase art during the pandemic. How have you stayed connected to your art community over the past year?
EH:
I love and miss studio visits. I have done dozens of virtual visits over the past year. Speaking with artists and learning more about their practices inspires my own curatorial practice. I'm really looking forward to being in those studios again.

EBSPLOITATION, 2019. Courtesy, Martos Gallery, NY

Is Entre Nous [a networking powerhouse group of women of color in the art world] still active? Has it changed shape or form in the pandemic?
EH:
Yes—the Entre Nous group will exist forever. We continue to share with and support one another. I'm constantly and regularly thankful for every member of the crew.

Having been a part of the New York art world for over a decade, how have you seen this community change over time? In what ways do you see it changing in the next decade?
EH:
It hasn’t changed enough in the last 10 years, but I think real change takes time, more time than we’d like. I’m hoping the next decade feels much more inspired.

Much of your work, from curating to teaching, involves lifting up Black artists. Can you speak to why that focus has become a crucial part of your work?
EH:
I didn't set out to focus on Black artists, but in step with most curators, I'm drawn to what I like. I would say my curatorial practice is largely drawn to, though not exclusively, conceptual and research-based practices. The Black artists I've had the pleasure of working with over the last 10 years have been some of my favorites in those categories.


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