As usual, the downtown E/AB, otherwise known as the Editions and Artists’ Book Fair, Nov. 4-7, 2010, was really energized, with 60 exhibitors from around the globe filling two floors of the old Dia Center space on West 22nd Street in Chelsea. Now in its 13th year, E/AB brings one hell of a lot of artworks to New York that otherwise might be hard to find.
Arriving from Sweden, first-time exhibitor Borje Bengtsson brought a smart new photo edition by Lee Jaffe, the photographer who counted among his subjects the graffiti-art superstar Jean-Michel Basquiat. The new edition features four images from 1984 that have never before been published, a series of the clean-cut Basquiat, possibly smoking a joint -- notice the smoke in the first shot -- and looking young and vulnerable. It’s available in an edition of only 18 for $1,800.
Atelier Michael Woolworth brought from Paris a pleasing new portfolio of 10 monochromatic woodcuts by French color artist Stéphane Bordarier (b. 1953), who has rarely ventured into printmaking. Entitled “Dix Paires,” the woodcuts are 26 x 50 cm, in an edition of 30, and reasonably priced at $550 each, or $4,200 for the series.
E/AB co-founders Brooke Alexander and Susan Inglett were both showing a special print designed for the fair by Barbara Kruger that righteously shouts “You’re right and you know it and so should everyone else.” In an edition of 200, the signed work was priced at only $200, and available only at the fair, with the limit of one per person. At the time of this writing, 96 had been sold.
Robert Longo collectors will be delighted to see that David Adamson Editions has created new digital prints featuring the artist’s most popular images, including both atom bomb blasts and giant waves. In editions of 15 only, the prints are priced at $4,000 and $4,500, respectively.
Other notable offerings include the elegant new portfolio of eight color etchings by Sean Scully, published by Alexander and Bonin Gallery. Entitled Liliane (which is Scully’s wife’s name), the works have been beautifully printed by Greg Burnett. Scully has taken a ten-year hiatus since his last portfolio with Alexander and Bonin but the new prints are worth the wait.
Over the past decade, the premier papermaking atelier Dieu Donne has been working with sculptors who are new to prints but have really taken to the properties of papermaking to expand their repertoire. Jessica Stockholder and Roxy Paine astonished the print world with their unusual prints over the past few years.
Now, thanks to a just-completed residency at Dieu Donne, Ursula von Rydingsvard has produced some spectacular works -- 60 different images in all. Debut price: $6,500 each. Dieu Donne is featuring von Rydinsvard’s new prints at its gallery at 315 West 36th Street in Manhattan through Dec. 9, 2010.
The weekend’s third, and perhaps most energetic, art fair took place out at MoMA PS1 in Queens, where the fifth annual NY Art Book Fair set up its operation, Nov. 5-7, 2010. Sponsored by Printed Matter, the event brought together 280 international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and publishers from 24 different countries.
A dazed AA Bronson (who leaves Printed Matter after the fair closes to focus on the 2011 General Idea retrospective at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris) reported a 40 percent increase in attendance over last year. A great number of visitors appeared to be young artists curious about the ways that art publishing might contribute to their own art-making practice. Another draw was the price point: many works could be had for as little as $10.
The NY Art Book Fair also had its special editions, including one by Christian Holstad that purported to be made of pulverized babies breath and obsidian -- it was unavailable at fair time, due to technical difficulties -- and others by Misaki Kawai (a bookmark and zine multiple for $20) and William E. Jones (a C-print priced at $150).
The Netherlands was the fair’s featured country, and a special Dutch pavilion boasted 18 different exhibitors, including wonderful designers from Werkplaats Typografie.
Plenty of art dealers were on hand, with displays of books and bookworks by their favorite artists. New York art dealer Steven Harvey had an assortment of limited edition books by Chuck Bowdish that included his actual paintings in them, priced as low as $35. Bill Powers of Half Gallery was also on hand, featuring a beautiful drawing by poet Rene Ricard.
The Japanese publisher and toy manufacturer PressPop was featuring an Allen Ginsberg “action figure” complete with glasses, tiny books of poetry and a beaded necklace and a CD of the poet reading at the Kitchen. Available for $45 at the fair, the multiple is slated and later on apparently at the Gagosian editions store on Madison Avenue.
Booklyn, the Brooklyn artist-bookmaking alliance, had some of the most remarkable works. A redhead with the appropriate moniker Paige Turner was demonstrating a wonderful cloth book by Texas artist Candace Hicks that was completely embroidered. This one-of-a-kind work had an asking price of $32,500.
One of the most unusual projects was presented by Proteus Gowanus, a gallery that sits next to the notorious canal in Brooklyn. Done in cooperation with the Brooklyn Museum, the project allows a visitor -- for a $5 fee -- to select one card from the old wooden card catalogue of the Brooklyn Museum book collection. Proteus then contacts the museum on your behalf, setting up an appointment to visit with your book. `
A quaint exercise for those Generation Y types who perhaps have never read an actual book, much less thumbed through a card catalogue? Hardly the type that flocked to visit the thriving NY Art Book Fair!
DEBORAH RIPLEY is a senior print specialist at Artnet.