The archives of American Fine Arts, Colin de Land’s gallery, and the Pat Hearn Gallery will go to the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The archive includes documentation of both galleries’ full exhibition history, correspondence, personal manuscripts, journals and ephemera.
With an apparent disregard for commercial success, de Land (1955–2003) ran a number of innovative and highly influential art galleries for almost 20 years, and was one of the founders of the Gramercy Art Fair, which evolved into the behemoth now known as the Armory Show. He opened his first gallery, Vox Populi, in the East Village in the early ’80s, later moving to SoHo and renaming the gallery American Fine Arts.
He showed artists including Cady Noland, Mark Dion, Peter Fend and John Waters. He once allowed artist Gareth James to close his gallery for a month in protest against art’s commercialization. He moved to Chelsea when Hearn, his wife, died in 2000, and took over her space there.
Hearn (1955-2000) ran an eponymous gallery from 1983 to her death, first in the East Village, then in SoHo and later in Chelsea, a neighborhood she pioneered for art galleries. As Carlo McCormick wrote in A.i.A. in 2000, “Hearn revealed a creative savvy, maverick business attitude and style that made an indelible mark on the New York art scene.”
Among the artists she gave first shows or early exposure were Jeff Elrod, Renee Green, Jutta Koether, Monique Pireto and Philip Taaffe. She was a fellow cofounder, with de Land, of the Gramercy Fair.