Was there ever a better paean to the printed word than the Art Book Fair?
This is the second or third year I’ve attended, and each time I leave optimistic about the state of print. It’s a given trade publishing will tip over into predominatly ebook sales. What’s great to see is that the smaller, independent remnants of the print world will innovate and do just fine.
Here a few of my favorite exhibitors.
“These Birds Walk” is a brilliant shop out of Oakland, with a subscription service printing quartlerly photography books by heavyweights like Jim Goldberg. Here’s a bit about his moving Rich and Poor series:
Harpune Verlag Vienna
Run by two friendly Austrians, Harpune Verlag caught my eye with their series Moby Dick Filet. Each chapter is published in a separate edition, limited to 460 copies, paired with a different illustrator. Did I mention there are 137 chapters in Melville’s classic tome? Harpune Verlag is the art book equivalent of Sufjan Stevens’ 50 States project.
Art Resources Transfer runs the impressive Between Artists collection, with established voices interviewing up and comers in whatever format they choose. Some choose transcripts of in-person interviews, others vie for back-and-forths over email.
I picked up the John Baldessari and Barbara Bloom exchange. I can’t wait to read it. Other artists on the docket include Catherine Opie and Lawrence Weiner. (In fact Weiner’s work turned up in several exhibitors’ inventory. Maybe it’s because he’s having his moment after decades working in obscurity, but the man is everywhere.)
Little Brown Mushroom Books
Started by Alec Soth in 2008, LBW publishes a range of products: zines, posters, tshirts, art books, and hybrid art objects that might be better described as sculpture. Here’s a Peter Davidson diorama, carved into an old Warner title:
And their blog is pretty great, too.
This is just a fraction of the great work on offer. Gottlund Verlag, ‘SUP Magazine, and The Thing Quarterly are other standouts. Check them out, buy everything they sell, feel good about words on paper.