David Zwirner

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David Zwirner
David Zwirner portrait.jpg
Born (1964-10-23) October 23, 1964 (age 52)
Cologne, West Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Art dealer

David Zwirner (born 23 October, 1964) is an American art dealer and owner of the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City and London (which opened in October 2012 with an exhibition by Luc Tuymans). In 2013, Zwirner was listed at number two in the ArtReview annual "Power 100" list [1] and in 2012, he was listed at number two in Forbes magazine's "America's Most Powerful Art Dealers." [2]


Zwirner was born in Cologne, West Germany. The son of art dealer Rudolph Zwirner and his wife Ursula, he was exposed to art at an early age as the family lived in a house with the gallery on the ground floor.[3] At the suggestion of the art dealer Harold Diamond (the father of Mike D, from the Beastie Boys), Rudolf sent David and his sister to the Walden School in New York for one year.[3] He left Germany for the United States after high school and attended New York University. He studied music and performed as a jazz drummer.[4] He returned to Germany and worked in Hamburg in A&R for an affiliate of the PolyGram record label.[4] He soon moved from working with musical talent to visual artists.[4] He also began to build his own art collection, acquiring works by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Hanne Darboven, and Dan Graham.[4] His first job in the States was with the art dealer Brooke Alexander at Brooke Alexander Gallery.

In 1993, Zwirner opened David Zwirner Gallery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, with the intention of showcasing an international mix of contemporary artists.[citation needed]

From 2000 to 2009, David Zwirner also was a partner with Iwan Wirth in Zwirner & Wirth, a gallery on New York's Upper East Side which focused on private sales. The collaboration yielded a series of exhibitions, including Gerhard Richter: Early Paintings (2000); Bruce Nauman (2001); Cy Twombly: Letter of Resignation (2002/2003); Claes Oldenburg: Early Work (2005); David Hammons (2006); Joseph Beuys: Sculpture and Drawing (2007); and Dan Flavin: The 1964 Green Gallery Exhibition (2008).[citation needed]

Zwirner is married to Monica Seeman.[3] She is a designer and founding copartner of handbag and accessories company, MZ Wallace, located in New York City. They have three children and reside in New York City.[3]


In April 2011, actor, director, and philanthropist Ben Stiller joined with Zwirner to organize Artists For Haiti (Art Auction), an auction to raise funds for education and health programs for children. The auction took place at Christie's in New York on September 22, 2011. It raised $13,662,000.[5] It said that one hundred percent of the sales will go to support non-profit organizations working in Haiti, including Architecture for Humanity, J/P Haitian Relief Organization, Partners in Health, Grameen Creative Lab, Artists for Peace and Justice, Ciné Institute, and The Stiller Foundation.[citation needed]

In April 2014, Zwirner hosted the annual Acria Unframed Auction to benefit HIV/AIDS research and education programs at his New York gallery. Organized by Zwirner partner Ales Ortuzar, the event raised a record-breaking $1 million for charity.[6]

In March 2011, Zwirner and fellow art dealer and parent Christopher D’Amelio organized the art donations for the Grace Church School 25th Annual Scholarship Benefit Auction.[7]

In October 2006 and May 2008, Zwirner organized two charity art auctions, 826NYC Art Show - An Auction to Benefit Children's Literacy, which took place at his gallery.[8] One hundred percent of the 2006 and 2008 proceeds went directly to 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6–18 with their writing skills. A catalogue was published by McSweeney's on the occasion of the 2006 auction. The catalogue reproduces twenty-two works of art alongside criticism by eight-year-olds.[citation needed]

In 2001, Zwirner organized the "I Love NY Art Benefit" exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery to benefit victims of the World Trade Center attacks.[9] A few days after the September 11 attacks, Zwirner asked its artists to donate works to the exhibition. He then called on the help of other New York dealers to organize their own benefit exhibitions.[citation needed] The initiative led to a citywide benefit with more than 150 participating galleries and alternative spaces. As with the exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery, all proceeds raised by the galleries benefited the Robin Hood Relief Fund, part of the Robin Hood Foundation.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Unattributed, "2013 Power 100," ArtReview, accessed, November 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Noer, Michael. "America's Most Powerful Art Dealers". Forbes magazine. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Nick Paumgarten (December 2, 2013), Dealer’s Hand The New Yorker.
  4. ^ a b c d Kelly Crow "Q&A with David Zwirner" WSJ. Magazine, April 30, 2009
  5. ^ Judd Tully, "Ben Stiller and David Zwirner Exult as Christie's Star-Packed Artists for Haiti Sale Tops $13 Million," Art Info, September 23, 2011
  6. ^ "Unframed 2014". Acria.org. Acria. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Melanie Grayce West. Artists Rally to Raise Scholarship Funds, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2011.
  8. ^ Angela Ashman, "Going Once, Going Twice...," Village Voice, May 20, 2008 [1]
  9. ^ Roberta Smith, "A Benefit for 'ers of Art and New York," The New York Times, November 1, 2001. [2]

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