Skip to main content

Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery Archives

Identifier: MSS-008

Scope and Contents

The Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery Archives is comprised of the gallery records of both American Fine Arts, Co. and Pat Hearn Gallery in addition to the personal files of Colin de Land.

Series I: Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co. contains the working gallery records which is largely comprised of artist files, in addition to exhibition files, administrative and financial documents, correspondence, and press. The Binders subseries supplement the artist files and exhibition files, but contain mostly visual materials (slides, photographs, transparencies, etc.)

I.A The A.F.A. Artist Files subseries is comprised of the working records of the gallery and includes correspondence, exhibition files for AFA shows and other institutions, financial records, artist writings, and other types of documentation. There are also small amounts of visual records (slides, photographs, negatives, etc.) found throughout the artist files.

I.B The A.F.A. Exhibition Files subseries is comprised of general correspondence regarding the planning of AFA exhibitions, invitations, checklists, press releases and other types of records, including select visual documentation.

I.C The A.F.A. Art Fairs Files subseries contains planning documentation regarding the gallery's participation in art fairs.

I.D The A.F.A. Artist Binders subseries contains largely visual documentation (slides, transparencies, photographs, etc.) for individual gallery artists. See content notes for indiviual binder contents.

I.E The A.F.A. Exhibition binders subseries contains visual documentation in addition to checklists and press in some cases. See content notes for indiviual binder contents.

I.F The A.F.A. Compilation Binders subseries contains visual and promotional material on individual artists.

I.G The A.F.A. Correspondence Files subseries spans from 1984 to 2003.

I.H The A.F.A. Artists of Interest subseries includes artist files for artists once represented by the gallery, artists under consideration, and artists with substantial correspondence or activity. See I.A for artist file scope and contents.

I.I The Press subseries contains the press files regarding Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery.

I.J The A.F.A. Financial and Administrative subseries contains records related to the organization and management of the gallery, in addition to records on resale activity.

Series II: Pat Hearn Gallery is comprised of the gallery's working files including exhibition files, correspondence (largely focused by artist), artist files, administrative and financial records, visuals binders for exhibitions and artists, and Pat Hearn's Memorial services and exhibitions.

II.A The P.H.G. Exhibition Files subseries contains mostly promotional materials (invitations, posters), as well as checklists, some correspondence, and guest books.

II.B The P.H.G. Correspondence subseries is largely focused by artist, with some general gallery correspondence included.

II.C The P.H.G. Artist Files subseries contains various administrative and miscellaneous project files related to individual artists.

II.D The P.H.G. Administrative and Financial Files subseries contains records pertaining to general gallery business including invoices, shipping, and advertising.

II.E The P.H.G. Art Fairs subseries contains files regarding the gallery's participation in art fairs.

II.F The P.H.G. Visuals subseries contains mostly slides and transparencies for indiviual artists, as well as group shows and select art fairs and performances.

II.G The Pat Hearn Memorial subseries contains materials related to the organization of Pat Hearn's memorial service, as well as the memorial exhibitions, including a binder of memorabilia (press, invitations, etc.) which was on view.

Series III: American Fine Arts Art Courses contains files pertaining to the planning of the art courses administered by Colin de Land and various guest speakers between 1994 and 1996 at American Fine Arts, Co., as well as a binder of slides used. The audio tapes documenting the series can be found in Series V: Media.

III.A The Art Course Files subseries contains planning documents and press releases for the four art course series.

III.B The Art Course Slides subseries contains slides for the four art course series.

Series IV: The Colin de Land Files consists of various records that reflect Colin de Land's process as a dealer and artist, reflecting the blurred boundaries that existed between his professional and personal lives.

IV.A The Special Projects subseries consists of various professional and academic projects that Colin took on in addition to the everyday functions of the gallery.

IV.B The Writings subseries consists of published writings, interviews, and notebooks which contain thoughts on art, gallery operations, and personal matters.

IV.CThe Personal Files subseries are comprised of folders containing personal correspondence, as well as folders concerning personal topics such as travel and health.

IV.D The Slide Carousels subseries reflect slide presentations on various artists, and often present a snapshot of gallery programming of a given year or range of years.

IV.E The Real Estate subseries consists of information on the various tenancies associated with Colin de Land, including leases, legal records, and floorplans.

IV.F The Invitations subseries consist of gallery invitations collected by Colin de Land.

IV.G The Readings subseries contains various essays, articles and exhibition statements collected by Colin de Land.

Series V: Media contains audiovisual media (3/4 in. U-matic, VHS, audiocassette, minicassette) and storage media (CDs, DVDs, floppy disk, etc.) separated from the preceeding series. Media access is only provided where access files have been created. Access files are indicated throughout the finding aid.

V.A The Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co. Media subseries contains audiovisual and storage media from the A.F.A. Artist Files subseries (I.A), in addition to a general media inventory from the gallery.

V.B The Pat Hearn Gallery Media subseries contains audiovisual and storage media from the P.H.G. Exhibition Files subseries, in addition to a general media inventory from the gallery.

V.C The Art Course Audio subseries contains audiocassettes documenting the Art Courses administered by Colin de Land and guest speakers at American Fine Arts, Co. between 1994 and 1996. See series III.

V.D The Colin de Land Files Media subseries contains various audiocassettes and CDs, ranging from commercially released music to mixtapes and self-help titles.

V.E The Miscellaneous Media subseries consists of largely unlabeled audiovisual and storage media.


  • 1979-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1987 - 2003


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers without restrictions. Appointments are necessary to consult manuscript and archival materials. Access copies for media materials may not be available yet. Please contact the CCS Archivist for further details.

Use Restrictions

Collection use is subject to all copyright laws. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Director of the Library & Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Please contact for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Colin de Land (1955-2003), New York art dealer and gallery owner who fostered wide ranging experimentation in the arts, established American Fine Arts, Co. in 1986 and ran the gallery until he died in 2003 at the age of 47. De Land grew up in Union City, NJ and studied philosophy and linguistics at NYU before establishing his first gallery in March 1982, originally named American Fine Arts, Co. In 1984 the gallery’s name changed to Vox Populi, operating out of a space on Clinton Street, and then on East 6th Street in the East Village. In February 1986 Colin de Land reverted to the original name American Fine Arts, Co. In 1988 the gallery moved to 40 Wooster Street in Soho, and again in 1993 the gallery moved to 22 Wooster Street.

American Fine Arts, Co. was unique in that it operated as an anti-conventional commercial gallery where de Land presented a broad range of artists whose practices spanned from large-scale installation to institutional critique, video, and abstract painting. Recurring artists in the A.F.A. program included Cady Noland, Mark Dion, Peter Fend, Andrea Fraser, John Waters, Jessica Stockholder, Christian Philipp Müller, Tom Burr, John Knight, and Silvia Kolbowski, among others. Beyond solo and group exhibitions A.F.A. also welcomed renowned guest curators to organize thematic exhibitions, such as Collins & Milazzo (“Modern Sleep,” 1986) , Ralph Rugoff (“Just Pathetic,” 1992), James Meyer ("What Happened to the Institutional Critique?", 1993 and “Election”, 2004), as well as thematic shows organized by gallery artists like Peter Fend (“Mapping, a Response to MoMA”, 1995) and Jason Simon (“The Mayfair Show,” 1994). The unique creative and social environment de Land fostered at A.F.A. is evidenced by the insertion of his own artistic endeavors in the programming, including the artists John Dogg (said to be a collaboration between Richard Prince and de Land) and J. St. Bernard (de Land’s solo pseudonym). In 1992 de Land began having creative meetings with a group of Cooper Union art students including Daniel McDonald, Patterson Beckwith, and Craig Wadlin. Both Beckwith and Wadlin worked at A.F.A. at the time. The result was the birth of the collaborative Art Club 2000 following their first exhibition “Commingle” at the gallery in the summer of 1993.

Pat Hearn (1955-2000), a widely respected art dealer and gallery owner of the 1980s and 1990s, was known for being open to new art, exceptionally receptive to artists and their needs, generous, and willing to share ideas and artists with other art dealers. Hearn was born in Providence, RI and studied painting and video at the Museum School in Boston. While on a semester abroad in Paris, Hearn worked briefly at an artist-run alternative art space in the Belleville district called L’Usine Pali-Kao. At Pali-Kao (where the programming focused on live performance as it converged with the visual arts as well as music), Hearn created video and performance work and notably began programming the work of other artists. Hearn returned to the States in February 1982 and referenced the Paris space in the naming of her new performance space called Poly Cow that she operated out of the ground floor of her apartment building in Boston. In November of 1983 Hearn opened her first gallery on Avenue B in the East Village of New York City, and in 1988 moved to the southwest corner of Soho at 33 Wooster Street. In 1995, the Pat Hearn Gallery was one of the first commercial galleries to move to Chelsea. Her program featured a multigenerational roster of artists showing a combination of painting, performance, photography, conceptual art, and video, in addition to posthumous shows by pioneering female artists Ana Mendieta and Eva Hesse. Pat Hearn Gallery artists included Philip Taffee, Milan Kunc, Peter Schuyff, Jimmy de Sana, Jutta Koether, Monique Prieto, Julia Scher, Susan Hiller, Renee Green, Simon Leung, George Condo, Jack Pierson and Mark Morrisroe, Joan Jonas, and Lutz Bacher, and others.

Together, Pat Hearn and Colin de Land, along with dealers Matthew Marks and Paul Morris, helped to establish the Gramercy International Art Fair in 1994 at the Gramercy Hotel. In 1999 the fair was renamed The Armory Show.

Colin de Land and Pat Hearn married in 1999. Hearn passed away in August 2000 following a battle with liver cancer. For a period of around two years following the death of Hearn de Land operated two galleries consecutively, one at 22 Wooster Street and the other in Hearn’s former space in Chelsea. In 2002 American Fine Arts, Co. gave up the Wooster Street location and operated solely out of Chelsea. In March 2003 Colin de Land passed away after his own battle with cancer. The gallery remained open until November 2004 for the final group exhibition, “Election,” organized by James Meyers, in part, as an homage to Colin de Land.


103 Linear Feet ( in 75 boxes and 95 binders)

Language of Materials



The Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery Archives is comprised of five series:

Series I: Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co.

Series II: Pat Hearn Gallery

Series III: American Fine Arts Art Courses

Series IV: Colin de Land Files

Series V: Media

See individual arrangement notes by subseries throughout the finding aid.


The Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery Archives was acquired in 2012 from the Colin de Land Estate.

Separated Materials

Click here for a list of separated materials.

Guide to the Colin de Land, American Fine Arts, Co., and Pat Hearn Gallery Archives
Ryan Evans; Collection processed by Ryan Evans.
February 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Center for Curatorial Studies Library & Archives Repository

Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson 12504-5000 USA
845-758-2442 (Fax)