I might have led with the mp3 I captured during the Lovely Daze hosted performances yesterday at Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair, but the sound file I recorded with my cellphone mimics the crappy photos I take for the site so it’s pretty much pointless. The all-women noise band I saw closed out the three day fair, with some pleasing echoing vocals and a brightly colored video courtesy of Bec Stupak.
The fair itself was organized much the same as it was last year, with a large portion of independent artist publishing booths upstairs, and publishers like Taschen and D.A.P. in the downstairs. Rare book sellers also took up much of the ground floor, though it seemed like the white glove portion of the fair had less of presence than they did last year. This is an observation based solely on the look of the displays I saw though, so take this comment with the appropriate grain of salt.
Probably my favorite aspect from the larger publishing house portion of the fair comes from the fact that the majority of them offered discounts on their books. The MIT Press took 20% off all their books which was great, and many of the Taschen books were also reduced. Taschen sported their usual spread of smut in conjunction with their other art books, which everyone likes even if they don’t admit it. The fact that some of these publications are discounted to my mind, should only make the material more seedy, but as it turns out, the fact that Ron Stuart’s Volume One had a “special” price only made it more desirable.
Michalis Pichler, War Diary, Photo AFC
Also meeting this year’s slim budget requirements, was independent publisher Michalis Pichler’s War Diary. It seems he did pretty well during the weekend too, since he had only one newpaper remaining when I spoke to him. For this project Pichler used New York newspapers between March 20, and April 11 2003 to collage images and ghosted words such as CAUGHT, OUTRAGE, and BAGHDAD. The act sadly represents the presence these words seem to have for Americans today.
Sporting far less political wear, one standout dealer amongst the artist book vendors comes from Anartist, whose booth contained several milk crates full of rare books and ephemera. Ranging from a ten year old Postmasters show card, to a portfolio of artist postcards that included Minimalist master Sol LeWitt, almost all the ephemera held some interest, if not for its historical value, then for its nostalgia.
I suppose if I had one wish for the fair, it would be the presence of Princeton Architectural Press, though this stems mostly from personal interest. I’ve recently been taken with a few of their publications including A Catalogue of The Hand Job, a book on hand typography and The Best of LCD: The Art and Writing of WFMU. In fact, the latter holds enough interest to warrant a full review later in the week.
Related: New York Book Art Fair 2006