Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

The NY Art Book Fair: The Savvy Hipster’s Answer to BEA

Hello, Trendsetters! If you noticed a bit a lull around here lately, you wouldn’t be mistaken. I, your intrepid editor, was traipsing around Morocco, taking a much-needed holiday from computers (among other things). And like everyone else in Bookland, we’ve been busier and busier around the office with Frankfurt prep–especially plans for Market Partners International‘s contribution to the festivities, Publishers Launch: Children’s Publishing Goes Digital, hosted by our president, Lorraine Shanely. But in the face of all of this Out of the Ordinary, Intern Julia did a fabulous job of holding down the fort and deserves a big round of applause.

Now on to what’s new. If you’ve been around here for a while, you might know that we (and Publishing Trends) love to cover events. (Heck, Trendsetter got i’s start at BEA 2011). And I’ve had a great time covering lots of the big New York City events for PT over the past year. But this past weekend, I trekked out to Queens–to MoMA’s P.S. 1 to be precise–for a book event unlike any I’ve yet covered. The New York Art Book Fair, presented for the sixth time this year, ran from Thursday, September 29 to Sunday, October 2, and is an initiative of Printed Matter, Inc, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “foster the appreciation, dissemination, and understanding of artists’ books and other artists’ publications.”

















Just  a few of the zany illustrations this year’s NY Art Book Fair boasted on its advertising materials, all done by artists featured at the event.

I first knew I wasn’t in Javits/Kansas anymore when I got off the 7 train with a crowd of folks in their mid- to late-twenties, more or less my own age. The event was free to the public, which I’m sure was a great way of pulling in the younger crowd (let alone the starving artist constituency), but I’ve no doubt that the experimental and “grass-roots” nature of the artist book movement would have held its own, whether there was an admission charge or not.

The contrast between this event and the others I’ve covered was delivered with the first stop I made: the tent of zinesters set up in P.S. 1’s entry courtyard. These folks were a new addition for 2011, numbered over 6o, and boasted enough mustache to make all of Brooklyn jealous. It was a beautiful autumn day, and an ideal setting for milling around and checking out this arm of publishing business usually so far from my purview. The enthusiasm with which visitors interacted with their favorite artists and publishers in this tent was the most exciting: if my observations count for anything, I’d posit that many zinesters are masters of “audience connection” in the same way that comic book publishers have been known to be. Their audiences may be comparatively small, but they’re always out there talking to them, and when the audience talks back, they listen.

No place like a tent for some serious literary undertakings.

Inside were a few representatives of “The Establishment,” and I spent some time at Yale and D.A.P.‘s booths (in a weird little windowless side room that kindof made it seem like they were in time-out?). From old classroom to old classroom, artists, their books, and their publishers were clustered in themed groups, including a new “hall” for photographers books, just added this year. I especially enjoyed time spent in the letter/fine press hall, where I stopped by the Ugly Duckling Presse table, and was introduced to Managing Director, James Copeland. The coolest thing I discovered at the NY Art Book Fair deserves (and will be getting) a post of it’s own sometime next week. Hope you’re interested in pirates…


  1. Rachel Stark Rachel says:

    Drat it all, I didn’t want to miss this because of my move!

    And in other news, I probably shouldn’t admit how excited a clincher like “Hope you’re interested in pirates…” makes me feel. But there you have it.

  2. Scott Blake says:

    I’m the bearded artist in your tent photograph. Thanks for showing an interest in my Barcode Art flipbook.

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