The Queens Museum today announced that it has hired Lauren Haynes as director of curatorial affairs. Haynes, who was born and raised in New York, will leave her post as senior curator at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina, to inaugurate the newly created role in mid-July. She will oversee the Queens Museum’s curatorial and programs departments, working closely with the education department with the goal of integrating the museum’s efforts in these three arenas. The newly coalesced team comprising the staff of these three departments will be know as the content team and will operate under the guidance of Sally Tallant, executive director of the New York institution.
“The siloing of curatorial and education is something that we’re really working to collapse at the museum,” Tallant told Artnews. Tallant, who came to the museum in 2019, said she had since her arrival sought to create a senior role for someone who could effectively weave together the multivalent strands of the institution’s programming but had been delayed by the Covid-19 crisis. She praised Haynes as an accomplished curator, a skilled collaborator, and an expert in the building and managing of collections. “Because she’s worked in a range of different contexts, I think she’s going to bring great leadership qualities and diversity of experience to the table that will really help nurture our team and give them an opportunity to grow,” said Tallant.
Before arriving at the Nasher Museum last summer, where she curated “Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now,” currently on view, Haynes since 2016 had served as curator of contemporary art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; she was additionally promoted to director of artist initiatives there in early 2020, having played a key role in the February 2020 launch of the museum’s downtown contemporary art gallery. She additionally she cocurated “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art” (2018), coordinated the first US presentation of “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” (2018, originating at Tate Modern, London), and led the curatorial team that assembled “State of the Art 2020.” She got her start at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2006 as an associate curator responsible for exhibitions including “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange” (2015) and “Alma Thomas” (2016), which she co-organized with Skidmore College’s Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum. In the fifteen years she has been active in the curatorial world, Haynes has gained a reputation as an artist-focused curator of exceptional warmth who is known for an open-minded approach
“I love building things,” Haynes said. “I love working with colleagues and working with people to think about: Okay, where we are now is great, but where do we want to be? And not thinking that we stick with the status quo. [The] position [at the Queens Museum] is about thinking globally about the museum and about what content can be across exhibitions, public programs, and education.”