The leaves are slowly beginning to change in New York City, the fall equinox is on its way, and like clockwork, the time has once again come for the New York Art Book Fair to set up shop inside the halls and yards of MoMA PS1, kicking off its fourteenth annual edition of a unique and energetic exhibition of young artists, publishers, writers and thinkers, each representing a small part of the national and international art publishing community. Always 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.
Marking a continuation of its impressive footprint in Long Island City, the fair’s 300 plus exhibitors and projects makes for an impressive look at the range and depth of practice in art book publishing. Zines and artists’ books, rare concert posters and contemporary art editions, all take their respective places 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 browse through the Focus: Photography section before passing into the large room upstairs, where a coat printed with the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford (presented courtesy Space Sisters Press) was posed close by a series of wry posters by Coloured Publishing. In another section, one could browse the Friendly Fires section, with printed materials by a range of politically-engaged organizations and arts programs, then take a step down the hall to listen to a record documenting artist Taryn Simon’s performance piece ‘An Occupation of Loss’ in a special projects section by Gagosian.
Downstairs, one could view an impressive collection of printed works and editions at Tim Byers, including a steel plate work by Martin Kippenberger and On Kawara’s famed I Went and I Met pieces. In another room, Marian Goodman had a range of pieces, including a Danh Vo necktie printed with the words “autoerotic asphyxiation.” In the museum’s iconic basement exhibition space, a towering wall of posters and images presented by BATT. ‘TILL THE LAST GASP’, A Graphzine History 1975-2005, presented a selection of Graphzines, a movement that rose from the ashes of 1960’s underground free press and comix, and which was revitalized by the punk generation. From Providence’s Fort Thunder scene back through the years, the show was a dramatic look at the underground history of graphic arts in the States.
As always, a 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 September 22nd.
— D. Creahan
NY Art Book Fair [Exhibition Site]