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Press Release

CCS Bard Library and Archives Announces the Acquisition of the Archives of Colin de Land’s American Fine Arts, Co. and the Pat Hearn Gallery

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY, November 7, 2012 The Library and Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) has acquired the archives of Colin de Land’s American Fine Arts, Co. (A.F.A) and the Pat Hearn Gallery from the estate of Colin de Land. The acquisition serves as a cornerstone of CCS Bard’s initiative to build a unique research collection comprising the personal papers and archives of innovative and influential contemporary art curators, art dealers, critics, galleries, and art spaces. The acquisition also supports CCS Bard’s 20th Anniversary Next Decade campaign, which aims to raise funds over the next ten years to maintain the school’s internationally renowned, world-class faculty and research and exhibition center.   

Colin de Land (1955-2003), New York art dealer and gallery owner who fostered wide ranging experimentation in the arts, established A.F.A in 1986 and ran the gallery until he died in 2003 at the age of 47. Described by art critic Jerry Saltz in a review in the Village Voice as the “Keith Richards of the art world,” de Land studied philosophy and linguistics at NYU before establishing his first gallery in 1983. In a 2002 interview, de Land states that he thinks of the gallery as a situation - a nexus between the artist’s studio and the marketplace (Laura de Coppet & Alan Jones, “ Colin de Land,” in The Art Dealers: the Powers behind the Scene Tell How the Art World Really Works, rev. ed., 2002). A.F.A 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.

A widely respected art dealer and gallery owner of the 1980s and 1990s, Pat Hearn (1955-2000) 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. 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. In a tribute to Pat Hearn, writer Linda Yablonsky noted that “Pat liked to say she developed new markets for artists. Colin developed new artists regardless of the market.” (Linda Yablonsky, On Pat, On Colin, How We Knew Them). Together, Pat Hearn and Colin de Land also helped to establish the New York Armory Show.

“The acquisition of Colin de Land's American Fine Arts, Co. and the Pat Hearn Gallery archives is a significant stepping stone in CCS Bard's efforts to establish a unique and vital research center for the contemporary arts,” says Ann Butler, Director of the Library and Archives at CCS Bard. “CCS Bard is a great home for this archive as it speaks to our strengths and includes many significant overlaps with artists represented in the Hessel Collection, and the exhibition history of CCS Bard and the Hessel Museum of Art. More importantly, this acquisition gives us the opportunity to preserve this unique material and make it available for research; providing our students and others with an opportunity to study and historicize two central and innovative figures of the New York art world.”

The A.F.A/ Pat Hearn Gallery archives includes full documentation of the exhibition history for both galleries, correspondence with artists and their representatives, extensive documentation of de Land’s courses for art collectors, personal manuscripts, journals, and memorabilia. The collection will enhance and fundamentally support the research needs of young curators enrolled in CCS Bard’s two-year graduate program in curatorial studies by exposing them to primary sources documenting innovative curatorial and institutional models and artistic practices of the past thirty years. After the collection has been fully processed, it will be integrated into the graduate curriculum at CCS Bard as another significant resource available to students, the Bard community at large, and visiting scholars and curators working on advanced scholarship in the contemporary arts. CCS Bard is indebted to Marty and Rebecca Eisenberg and Howard and Barbara Morse for their generous support in making this acquisition possible.

Together with other recent financial gifts and new acquisitions, the A.F.A/ Pat Hearn Gallery archives transform the holdings of CCS Bard into a preeminent research center for the study of contemporary art and curatorial practices.

About CCS Bard’s Library and Archives

The Library and Archives at CCS Bard is a vital research center specializing in curatorial studies and the contemporary arts, as well as an integral component of CCS Bard’s two-year graduate program supporting the advanced research of curatorial studies students. The Library and Archives contains over 25,000 volumes focusing on post-1960s contemporary art and curatorial practices and the personal papers and archives of select galleries, artist-run spaces and initiatives, and prominent curators. 

About the Center for Curatorial Studies
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) is an exhibition, education, and research center dedicated to the study of art and curatorial practices from the 1960s to the present day.

In addition to the CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, the Center houses the Marieluise Hessel Collection, as well as an extensive library and curatorial archives that are accessible to the public. The Center’s two-year M.A. program in curatorial studies is specifically designed to deepen students’ understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curating contemporary art. Exhibitions are presented year-round in the CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, providing students with the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists and curators. The exhibition program and the Hessel Collection also serve as the basis for a wide range of public programs and activities exploring art and its role in contemporary society. 

The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College opened its doors in 1992. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2012, CCS Bard presents a series of exhibitions by students, as well as a roster of international artists, working in a range of practices.

General information on the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College can be found on its newly re-launched website at:


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For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Elizabeth Reina-Longoria or Deirdre Maher

Blue Medium

Tel: +1 (212) 675-1800

E: or


Mark Primoff

Director of Communications

Tel: +1 845.758.7412      



CCS BARD CONTACT:                                               

Ramona Rosenberg                                               

External Affairs Manager                                               

Tel: +1 (845) 758-7574                                               


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This event was last updated on 11-12-2012