The publishing world may still be adjusting to the online marketplace, but zine culture has officially exploded. No more is this more evident than at the New York Art Book Fair, which this year boasts 350 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, institutions, and independent publishers from around the world. Now in its ninth year, the fair expects more than 27,000 people to attend.
To those visitors we say, “Prepare to be inspired. Anticipate spending more than you think.” We found that all our tiny purchases at the zine section added up a little too quickly.
Here are our highlights:
XE(ROX) & PAPER + SCISSOR
You know what I think of when I hear the word “food”? It doesn’t matter. I didn’t think of placing a lemon on my ass, and I commend the artist who did.
This particular image makes the cover of 0-100 Editions’s “Who Eat Who,” a newspaper fold-out featuring three images each by these artists: Todd Fisher, Cristiano Guerri, and Sasha Krumaz. Each was asked to respond to the word “food.” And as you can see above, they gladly did so. (The lead image is by Sasha Krumaz.)
0-100 Editions is an independent publishing project that produces wordless, limited-edition photographic stories. Price points typically ranged from $15-$150 dollars for editions. Recommended. – PJ
An aptly named fold-out book by billy o’callaghan. There’s about ten pages in this book and they are all photographs of people who have shaved their head in dumb ways or sport remarkably bad hair cuts. This isn’t a deep investigation, which feels about right for the weight of this book. O’Callaghan doesn’t want you to gawk endlessly, he wants you to chuckle and move on. – PJ
Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Headmaster touts itself as a biannual publication for man-lovers. Inside the latest issue, we shot this image of a rugby player wearing a hand-knit jersey with a custom jock strap and arm warmer. The tears in the costume produce a real eroticism—one imagines a scene just before this was shot of men desperately clawing at one another—and that’s very effective. – PJ
It’s hard to say which was catchier at Ratstar: the pricing system or the products themselves. Available for purchase are a collection of eight zines, a dollar each. Buy eight and artist Ryan Foerster promises a shot of whisky too. Also available: “Camp in my Ass” stickers. You can purchase two for a dollar, a price that seems about right for a sticker with text that makes it almost impossible to use.
For my part, I purchased Bob Nickas’s xeroxed Phillips contemporary sale catalog for ten dollars. The entire book was sliced up, collaged, and annotated before it went to the copier. Nickas’s edition still preserves the basic components of the catalogue; text, captions, and full-page images of available work. Often the captioning information does not match the work illustrated.
The book is a tad over the top in Nickas’s message that the market is fucked up, but for ten bucks, I’m happy to live with that. A tag on the back cover instructs viewers to read the book from that end—because, yes, the market is backwards—and the bulk of the book illustrates that. Notations on when he thinks work by young artists will be sold again—typically a year after they appear at auction—mark many of the pages; in one he even does so far as to place the name Lucien Smith in a dinosaur thought bubble and “while it lasts” in another.
That’s a little cruel for my taste, which is why I prefer the text annotations. Writers, at least, are used to getting their egos bludgeoned in the editing process. On some pages Nickas circles words he identifies as lazy—explore, exploration, deplore—they’re mostly meaningless. In others, he circles bits of ridiculous text and captioning; “virgin wool impregnated with resin,” for example, is a real find in the world of ludicrous language use.
What you don’t get from this project is much analysis. Perhaps that’s because it’s criticism in the form of an artwork and Nickas isn’t a very inventive image-maker. What does that image of Andy Warhol flowers with skull drawings tell us anyway? It’s unclear, but overall, you get the impression Nickas is very frustrated with the current state of affairs. – PJ
You’re looking inside a brand-new publication by comics collective Spider’s Pee Paw. Desert Island commissioned all members of the collective to work on one story together for “Square Dance at Palms Promenade”—usually their publications include separate stories and separate art from each member. Anyway, I want this $15 book— it’s all hi-saturation colors, non-sequitor stories, and full of online culture reference. – CK
Befitting the publication’s name, the table had a ficus on it. Of particular interest: Martine Syms’s “Book of Fate,” a collection of omens found in everyday objects. “Macaroni: Someone will take advantage of you.” – CK
NORWAY FOCUS SECTION
At Kuk & Parfyme/ Trollkrem (D09), these poster-portraits were standouts. Each poster shows an artist who has been published with the group, and their names overlaid on top. Each has a different font. They’re somewhat serious, and some look like the could be wall-based trading cards. —CK
Paul Soulellis, a.k.a. “Library of the Printed Web,” was telling me that “Printed Web No. 2″—which is beautiful, and with a cover that feels smooth, almost leathery—comes from IngramSpark, an on-demand printer. Online publishing has much improved since the days of Lulu. And just to throw in here: Paul’s one of the first residents at NEW INC this fall. —CK
Classified under the rare category of “Fiction/Conceptual Art,” the premise of Société Réaliste’s “The Best American Book of the 20th Century” uses the first sentence from the number one bestselling book of 1900 as its first sentence; the second sentence uses the second sentence from the second bestselling book from 1900…and so on. It’s a simple premise, but uses an extreme form of repetition. —CK