The Conditions of Being Art: Pat Hearn Gallery & American Fine Arts, Co.

Copublished with CCS Bard in 2019
Edited with text by Jeannine Tang, Lia Gangitano, and Ann Butler. Text by Johanna Burton, Jill Casid, Lauren Cornell, Diedrich Diederichsen, Jennifer King, Mason Leaver-Yap, and Kobena Mercer
Design by xSITE
304 pages, 240 images, softcover with jacket, 7 x 9 inches
Distributed by D.A.P.
ISBN: 978-0-9986326-6-7


The Conditions of Being Art is the first book to examine the activities of groundbreaking contemporary art galleries Pat Hearn Gallery and American Fine Arts, Co. (1983–2004) and the transnational milieu of artists, dealers, and critics that surrounded them. Drawing on the archives of dealers Pat Hearn and Colin de Land—both, independently, legendary players on the New York art scene of the 1980s and 1990s, and one of the great love stories of the art world—this publication illustrates their distinctive artistic practices, significant exhibitions and events, and daily business. Hearn and de Land’s gallery practices explored new experimental and ethical possibilities within the selling of art, testing the relationship of contemporary art to its markets. In this volume, full-color images, in-depth scholarly investigations, and detailed gallery histories vibrantly document how Hearn and de Land tested new notions of what an art gallery could be.

Praise and Press

[The Conditions of Being Art] tracks the careers of the charismatic and influential gallerists Pat Hearn and Colin de Land, an art-world power couple who transformed the New York gallery scene in the 1980s and ’90s before both succumbed to cancer. . . . The book’s ten essays thoughtfully consider these two distinct but linked careers, both marked by an uncommon engagement with artists: Exhibition cocurator Lia Gangitano writes movingly of Hearn’s “businesslike spirituality,” while Diedrich Diederichsen remarks on de Land’s “existential sincerity.” On the surface, the thematic coherence of their artist rosters is hard to parse. Hearn’s ran the gamut from now-lauded painters like George Condo and Mary Heilmann to provocateurs as divergent as photographer Mark Morrisroe and the unclassifiable Lutz Bacher; de Land’s included the seemingly unmarketable institutional critique of Andrea Fraser and Art Club 2000. The throughline is the couple’s hands-on dedication to building an artist-centric network within, and alongside, thriving commercial spaces.

—Lisa Darms, Bookforum

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