The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, has announced the appointment of Lauren Haynes as curator of contemporary art. Haynes will join the Crystal Bridges curatorial team in October, after spending the past ten years in a variety of curatorial roles at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she is currently associate curator of the permanent collection. The exhibitions she’s curated or co-curated at the Studio Museum include “Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series,” “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange” (for which she also authored the catalogue), and the current survey of works by Alma Thomas, which is on view through October 30.
Haynes has also overseen the esteemed artist-in-residence program that gives the Studio Museum its name, an experience noted by Margi Conrads, the director of curatorial affairs at Crystal Bridges, who cited Haynes’s “expertise in building artist-in-residence programs” as a particular strength she’ll bring from Harlem to Bentonville.
News of Haynes’s appointment is the latest development in a series of recent plans for expansion at Crystal Bridges. Earlier this year the museum announced that it will partner with MASS MoCA—which is famously located in a converted factory building in North Adams, Massachusetts—to revamp a 63,000-square-foot decommissioned Kraft Foods plant in downtown Bentonville, about a mile and a half south of Crystal Bridges. Set to open in 2018, the building will include an exhibition space and performance venues for music, dance, theater, and film. The new downtown center will also serve as the home of a multidisciplinary artist-in-residence program, clearly an area where Haynes’s experience at the Studio Museum will serve Crystal Bridges well.
In her statement accompanying the news, Haynes found common ground between the two museums. “Crystal Bridges and the Studio Museum share a commitment to bringing innovative and challenging artworks and exhibitions to broad and diverse audiences,” she said. “I can’t wait to bring the perspective I’ve developed over the past ten years to Crystal Bridges and the Northwest Arkansas community.”
Logan Lockner is Assistant Editor of BURNAWAY.