HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NY ART BOOK FAIR 2011Sept. 29, 2011
Art bookstores may be shuttering around the nation, but thousands of zinesters, antiquarian book dealers, artists and indie publishers flock every year to the annual NY Art Book Fair, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2011. Now in its sixth go-round, and produced once again by artist AA Bronson and the veteran nonprofit artist-book distributor Printed Matter, the fest brings an incredible 200 exhibitors from 21 countries out to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.
So what’s in store for 2011? “Too much -- that’s sometimes the problem,” said Bronson, who resigned his post as Printed Matter president earlier this year but stayed on to organize the NYABF, gratis. Bronson did note a special exhibition, “Feminine,” featuring 200 contemporary zines and artist books by Japanese women. The show is housed in a tent in the PS1 courtyard -- a first -- and comes from the collection of Zine’s Mate, which organizes the Tokyo Art Book Fair.
Photography books are a special focus this time around, and one section is devoted to 18 dealers and publishers specializing in photography. The presentation includes the exhibition, “Artists’ Photography Books,” curated by Swiss art-book collector and editor Christoph Schifferli, who originally displayed the show at Art Basel in June.
Bronson, who continues to sit on Printed Matter’s board, said other highlights include an exhibition of assemblage publications, “Loose Leaf,” installed in the antechamber to the first-floor conference room. Alongside contemporary magazines, the show centers around the complete set of artist Wallace Berman’s landmark magazine of inserts and loose paper ephemera, Semina, published nine times between 1955 and 1964. “It was really innovative and set the tone for other publications, like [3D magazine] Aspen,” Bronson said.
The exhibition also features the debut of a new one-time-only publication called Adventures, edited by MoMA librarian David Senior, and selling as an edition of 200 for $20. Senior also once again curated the annual “Classroom” series of lectures, performances, videos and workshops held on the third floor.
Bronson pointed as well to dealer and publisher Andrew Roth’s collection of 100 vintage British punk zines, which are on view as the exhibition “We Are the Writing on the Wall,” and have also been compiled into a single-volume book that goes on sale at the fair.
Then there’s the more than 600 independently published titles collected by email news service e-flux in its “Book Co-op” -- an airstream “silver bullet” trailer that Bronson described as “the American dream of the future.”
The show's preview is tonight, Sept. 29, 2011, 6-9 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Beginning collectors might want to take a special look at Printed Matter's fundraising editions by Harmony Korine, Marc Hundley, Nick Relph and Colter Jacobsen, which start at $75.