Kyla McMillan. Photo: David Zwirner.

David Zwirner Taps Kyla McMillan of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise as Director

David Zwirner has hired Kyla McMillan, former director of the now-closed Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, as director, Artnews reports. The blue-chip Zwirner is one of the largest galleries in the world; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, which shuttered in July following a 26-year run, was known for discovering bleeding-edge talent.

At Brown, McMillan organized the gallery’s first solo show with Cy Gavin, and worked with artists including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Laura Owens, and Uri Aran.

“At Gavin Brown’s Enterprise I worked with so many artists who will forever inform how I think,” McMillan said. “I learned commitment to one’s work and determination from Alex Katz. Younger artists like Cy Gavin, Rachel Rose and Frida Orupabo have all taught me fearlessness. Rob Pruitt reminded me that care and kindness are rare, but admirable traits.”

McMillan, who previously worked as an art communications consultant in Johannesburg, notably for the Joburg Art Fair and the BMW Group, and for New York–based communications firms Resnicow and Associates and Alexander Gray Associates, is the first former staffer from Brown to make a major move since the gallery’s closure.

“In my conversations with the David Zwirner team, we talked so much about what it means to truly be a gallery that puts artists first. To me, that means creating a gallery that supports and enables artists to grow and do their best work.”

McMillan’s hiring comes at a time of change in the art world, as galleries close, consolidate, or go online in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and as institutions and galleries confront the issues of race and class that are being newly investigated the world over.

“I believe I’m evidence that change is good,” said McMillan. “I don’t fit the typical gallery-director mold: I’m a first-generation, Black woman who has spent the majority of my career working outside of New York galleries. I consider all of these things assets because it informs my questioning of why things are done the way they are and if there’s a better way to do them.”