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Ebony L. Haynes
Courtesy 52 Walker, New YorkPhotography by Lelanie Foster

Ebony L. Haynes’ new gallery space asks the art world to take a breath

Haynes’ much anticipated project 52 Walker aims to interrogate what it means to view art – offering longer seasons, and new ways to engage with creativity in a public space

Taken from the autumn 2021 issue of Dazed. You can buy a copy of our latest issue here

Ebony L. Haynes – who was last year appointed as director of David Zwirner’s gallery space, 52 Walker, in New York – believes the art world needed to take a breath. “The past year has afforded more space for experimentation, whether online or in person,” she says of the gallery, which opens in Manhattan this month and lays emphasis on slowing down the experience of consuming and displaying art, mixing media and reimagining the gallery-going notion.

“I think innovative modes of art-making and presenting, and the way in which we critically engage with those ideas, are making their way to the fore.” 

The venue serves both as a commercial gallery and a flashpoint for conceptual and discussion-raising art, with four exhibitions a year running for three months each, straying from the traditional exhibition cycle.

“When I joined, it was my intention to build a groundwork for the gallery, coming from a desire to give more space and time to artists, and to myself” – Ebony L. Haynes

52 Walker opens its doors on October 28 with A Line, a solo show by Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Kandis Williams, whose work sits at the crossroads of race, authority and eroticism. Haynes’ schedule features exhibitions by the likes of Nikita Gale, whose installations explore our relationship to technology and machinery, and conceptual artist and filmmaker Tiona Nekkia McClodden. 

“I have long been a fan of these artists – so naturally it’s exciting for me to have the opportunity to work closely with them,” says the curator, who adds that she can’t wait for the world to see what she’s been working on.

For Haynes, the decision to open 52 Walker was in line with the necessary shifts that happened in the art world since the beginning of the pandemic. “When I joined, it was my intention to build a groundwork for the gallery, coming from a desire to give more space and time to artists, and to myself.”

This has been updated from the version published in print.