As the fall equinox comes and goes, the New York Art Book Fair has once again come to New York City, opening its doors at MoMA PS1 for the thirteenth annual edition of what has become one of the city’s most unique and energetic exhibitions of young artists, publishers, writers and thinkers, each representing a small part of the national and international art publishing community. Free and open to the public, the event draws more than 35,000 individuals including book lovers, collectors, artists, and art world professionals each year.
This year’s edition, featuring 365 exhibitors from around the world, once again turns its emphasis towards breadth of interests and depth of materials, moving effortlessly from zines and artists’ books to antiquarian books and contemporary art editions, alongside performances, exhibitions and projects. This range of projects invites a healthy and vibrant dialogue for both visitors and exhibitors, as chance encounters and discussions intersect easily with unexpected performances and pieces. One could pass through the VW Dome to view a range of historical archives and t-shirts and through the courtyard to see Odwalla1221 perform, then venture inside to browse Sam Falls’s new book with 303inPrint, an accompanying work to the artist’s current show at the Chelsea gallery. In another room, one could browse limited edition prints by Jonas Wood, then wander over to Tauba Auerbach’s Diagonal Press to peruse the artist’s small-scale sculpture works and texts. Upstairs, the Friendly Fire section was back, continuing its advocacy for politically and socially-engaged art and writing practices, inviting a range of groups including True Laurels, Guerilla Girls, and more, while a massive, two-headed Mickey Mouse mascot could be seen wandering the aisles, courtesy of street artist and publisher Wizard Skull.
Looming large over the proceedings this year was the absence of the late Shannon Michael Cane, who tragically passed last year. Cane had long been at the heart of the Art Book Fair, growing its footprint and influence over the last decade while working at Printed Matter, and his contributions to NYABF’s stature in the current arts landscape cannot be ignored. This sentiment was echoed in a number of events and projects, including an ongoing remembrance project in the basement of the museum, and a new award given to upstart publishers and artists, this year going to backbonebooks, Ian Giles, MonoRhetorik, and Sming Sming Books.
This familial setting and commitment to community speaks volumes about why the NYABF has continued to grow and thrive, creating a space where artists and writers can find and create new support systems and networks to create and promote their work, well beyond the gallery walls.
The New York Art Book Fair closes today, September 23rd.
— D. Creahan
NY Art Book Fair [Exhibition Site]