ADAA THE ART SHOW
Park Avenue Armory, NYC
November 2 – 5, 2023
Nina Childress and Pat Hearn first crossed paths in early 1980s Paris, France. Pat, at the time, had embedded herself within the artist-run collective Usine Pali-Kao. Amongst the series of events she organized was a performance by Nina under her stage name “Nina Kuss,” the singer of the punk group Lucrate Milk. A few years later in New York, the two “punks” were formally introduced as Pat, owner of the newly opened Pat Hearn Fine Art and Nina, the emerging French-American painter. Pat asked Nina to paint one flower bouquet and one portrait of her.
Pat was relentlessly elegant. Casually captivating, she was always adorned with her curation of designer and vintage accessories, often referred to as “a bohemian Holly Golightly” while her adoring chihuahua “Chi-Chi” trailed behind her. In reference to Colin de Land, filmmaker John Waters wrote that “no one wore bags under his eyes with such panache.” His scruffiness, framing his deep brown eyes and his ubiquitous cigarette, was also accompanied by his undeniable charisma.
Since 1980, Nina Childress has been examining the structural elements of Western popular culture and the nature of celebrity and nostalgia. She has developed several series inspired by illustrious personalities within literature, philosophy, feminism, and the silver screen, among others. For The Art Show 2023, she pays tribute to the iconic and beloved art dealers of 1980’s New York, Pat Hearn and Colin de Land.
Before she was an art dealer blazing her gallery’s way through then deserted neighborhoods of Manhattan, Pat was a performer, notorious among friends for her fearlessness. In his early years, Colin also moonlighted as fictitious American artist John Dogg with collaborator Richard Prince, later exhibiting the work at his own gallery, American Fine Arts, Co. Colin was the anti-dealer, with a “poet-like disaffection with industry,” as writer David Rimanelli noted. Artist Mary Heilmann reflects on Pat and “the dada sense of fun that stayed with her even as her art world stature grew.”
Pat and Colin were married in City Hall after twelve years together. In 2000, Pat passed away from cancer and in 2003, Colin did too. Each had collected their share of loving comparisons during their time. “Jerry Saltz called him the Keith Richards of the art world. John Waters called her the Jackie Kennedy of the art world,” Linda Yablonsky writes in her tribute to the two, “In fact, there was no one in or out of the art world like either one.”
Childress was awarded a research grant for I love Pat & Colin by the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France.