In honor of its tenth edition, The Armory Show, The International Fair of New Art, has commissioned two artists to commemorate its beloved, late founders Pat Hearn and Colin de Land. Baltimore artist John Waters and New York artist Mary Heilmann, longtime friends and exhibiting artists of Colin de Lands American Fine Arts and Pat Hearn Gallery, respectively, will collaborate on the visual identity for the 2008 fair.
This will be the seventh year that The Armory Show has commissioned an artist to define the image of the fair, and the very first time that two artists have been asked to work together on this task. Promising to be yet another extraordinary milestone in its already rich history, the tenth edition of The Armory Show will take place March 27 30, 2008 at Pier 94 in New York.
In an evocative return to the roots of their friendship, Waters and Heilmann made a pilgrimage to Provincetown and, while there, recorded their thoughts:
JW: Okay, here we are in Provincetown in Colin and Pats old apartment that they rented in artist Pat De Groots amazing house.
MH: Yeah. Their ghosts are here.
JW: I always say, this is the best Grey Gardens-type house in Provincetown and what a perfect place for Colin and Pat to vacation.
MH: Yeah, and were lucky to be here now.
JW: And under that tree in the front lawn is the unofficial memorial to them. Every time I pass it, I think of those two. We are both united through Colin and Pat.
MH: They were very important for my whole life. I learned so much from her, and then from him.
JW: They were two cult leaders that fell in love.
MH: It was a cult.
JW: Both of them had their own cult and I was an eager member.
MH: And I love cults.
JW: Me, too.
According to Armory Show Director Katelijne De Backer, The association of a cult around Hearn and de Land is not likely to surprise their friends and colleagues, familiar not only with their keen industry understanding and foresight, but also with their strong, idiosyncratic personae. In a gesture of timeless adulation, the work of Waters and Heilmann will indelibly preserve the contributions that these two iconic art world figures made to The Armory Show."
A pioneer of postmodern painting, Heilmann began working in the late 1960s, reviving an art form many considered previously expired. In 1986, after being introduced to each other by artist Ross Bleckner, Hearn stood, for the first time, in front of a work of Heilmanns called Rosebud." According to Heilmann, it was at that moment that the two forged an artist-dealer commitment complete with a real feeling of romance and magic and love." Her funky, colorful panels of abstract and geometric forms continue to playfully suggest shifts in culture and personal narrative. Heilmanns first major museum retrospective, To Be Someone, organized by the Orange County Museum of Art, is currently traveling within the United States and will culminate at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in September 2008. She is represented by 303 Gallery, New York, and Hauser & Wirth Zürich London.
John Waters, known for his provocative filmmaking, writing, and adventures into Broadway musicals (Hairspray", the upcoming Cry-Baby") added still photography to his idiosyncratic canon in the early 1990s. Waters was first a client and then a friend of de Land. After showing Colin the "little movies" he had snapped off his TV monitor and rearranged in storyboard-like sequences to subvert the original films' narrative, Waters was added to the American Fine Arts roster. These kidnapped, hostage movie stills celebrate the heartbreak, frustration and humorous humiliation of the movie business. Waters first showed with de Land at American Fine Art in 1995 and a retrospective exhibition, Change of Life", opened at The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in 2004. Waters is now represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery.