The New York gallery American Fine Arts, Co. – whose name today is largely synonymous with that of its gallerist, Colin de Land (1955–2003) – represents a gallery practice in which a decided deviation from conventional models overlaps with successful activities within the framework of the art market. Today, American Fine Arts, Co. (AFA) and de Land figure as uncontested projection screens for the desire for independence from or bohemian resistance against the dictate of the market.
Tangible facts allow us to determine a couple of key points in the history of the gallery, which existed from 1984 to 2004: it relocated a few times, from the East Village to SoHo and finally to Chelsea, something that evidently corresponded with the larger movements in New York’s gallery landscape; and its list of exhibitions reveals artistic approaches that can be associated with various, now canonized strands of institutional critique and Conceptualism, with methods of appropriation and formalism, as well as with pop cultural phenomena, while simultaneously revealing a high fluctuation in regard to the exhibited artists. But particularly in retrospect, a consistent image of the gallery is not discernible.
‚Dealing with—Some Texts, Images, and Thoughts Related to American Fine Arts, Co.‘ is published on the occasion of the exhibition ‚Dealing with—Some Books, Visuals, and Works Related to American Fine Arts, Co.‘ at Halle für Kunst Lüneburg and Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg (May 28–July 7, 2011), which was developed by Valérie Knoll, Hannes Loichinger, Julia Moritz, and Magnus Schäfer and presented contributions by Art Club 2000, Patterson Beckwith, J. St. Bernard, John Dogg, Jackie McAllister, James Meyer, Stephan Dillemuth, Loretta Fahrenholz, Karl Holmqvist and Phillip Zach.
As well as the 2011 exhibition, this publication follows the principle of deliberate fragmentation and digression: via openly conceived research work, the question about dealing with the history of the gallery and its historicization was raised based on individual aspects, specific documents, and materials that initially served to reflect on possible ways into and out of AFA’s history.
With contributions by Andrea Fraser, Manfred Hermes, Karl Holmqvist and Tobias Kaspar, Isla Leaver-Yap, Jackie McAllister, James Meyer and Christian Philipp Müller, Magnus Schäfer, Axel John Wieder, Phillip Zach; a conversation between Colin de Land, Josef Strau, and Stephan Dillemuth; and an introduction by Hannes Loichinger and Magnus Schäfer.
Edited by Valérie Knoll, Hannes Loichinger, Magnus Schäfer
80 pages, € 16, ISBN 978-3-943365-28-3
Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2012
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