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Duke University’s Nasher Museum Makes a Major Curatorial Hire with Lauren Haynes

After it promoted its acclaimed chief curator Trevor Schoonmaker to the status of director, Duke University’s art museum has made a significant curatorial hire.

Lauren Haynes has been named senior curator at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina, in a move that will see her leave Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its performing arts satellite the Momentary, where she currently works as curator of contemporary art and director of artist initiatives. Haynes begins at the Nasher on June 7.

“I got my start in museums as an undergrad at Oberlin working at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, so I’ve always had a fond spot for college and university art museums, so the chance to join the team of one that I have greatly admired felt like an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Haynes said in an email. “I’m excited to help chart a path forward at the Nasher and build upon all of the great work they’ve done over the last 16 years. I’m excited to dig in deep with the team and the collection and see what develops.”

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Over the past decade and a half, Haynes has become a closely watched figure within the museum world. She made her name at New York’s Studio Museum of Harlem, where she worked as associate curator of the collection. Among her most lauded shows there was an Alma Thomas survey in 2016 (which was co-organized with the Tang Teaching Museum) and an exhibition of Stanley Whitney’s paintings in 2015.

[How the Studio Museum in Harlem launched generations of curators and artists.]

At Crystal Bridges, where Haynes has been since 2016, she curated the first U.S. presentation of “Soul of a Nation,” a lauded Tate Modern–organized survey of art during the Black Power movement of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and a show about Georgia O’Keeffe’s impact on contemporary art.

In a statement, Schoonmaker said, “Over the past 15 years, she’s developed a deep understanding of the global art world and I’m very excited for her to bring her curatorial vision and vast experience to the Nasher, Duke, and our communities.”

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