When Printed Matter organized the first NY Art Book Fair in 2006, their aim was to bring together the worlds most respected art publishers and booksellers under the same roof. In fact, last years NYABF was presented by 283 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from twenty-six countries.
Over the years, the fair became the perfect place where attendees could browse through a selection of zines, monographs and art catalogs—and at the same show, meet the people behind them. Independent booksellers also found the gathering as a good way to reach an audience much larger than the ones within their local communities.
Last week, Printed Matter made it out west for their first annual LA Art Book Fair. Much like their New York event, the fair was free to the public and brought in an audience made up of artists, designers and book-seekers throughout the halls of the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Some of my favorite installations included Larry Clark’s pop-up, hosted by the folks at BOO-HOORAY, the Zine Masters of the Universe show featuring work by Mark Gonzales, Ari Marcopoulos, Ray Pettibon, and Dash Snow, and The Thing Quarterly’s booth, where people were finally able to see those brown mystery boxes in person.
The LAABF showed me that there is still a healthy subculture for printed publications, even with the growing popularity of the digital format. Yes, the fair was there to celebrate print, but more specifically, as described by the NY Times’ Holland Cotter, “This fair is primarily devoted to books as art, rather than to books about art”. I had a great time at the LAABF, but I must admit, it was a bit overwhelming. There were so many things I wanted to take home. As long as I’m living in Southern California, I’ll definitely make my yearly trip out for the show.
And lastly, Printed Matter, like many of our friends back east, was hit pretty bad by Hurricane Sandy. To help their cause and keep this book fair free, limited prints by David Benjamin Sherry, Andrew Kuo and Wes Lang are available for purchase. Go support if you can.
Bad Day Magazine having a good day.
Above, the Larry Clark Pop-up. Below, shots from the Zine Masters of the Universe show featuring work by Mark Gonzales, Ari Marcopoulos, Ray Pettibon, and Dash Snow.
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