In Review: The NY Art Book Fair @ MoMA PS1
By Sam Trioli
This September marked the 8th annual NY Art Book Fair. Artists, hardcore book fans and curious onlookers alike descended upon MoMA PS1 as things kicked off on Thursday evening. Books and their makers took over the entirety of the 1892 brick building and its courtyard, and it seems only fitting that the former school building, the first public school in Long Island City, played host to the art book fair, one of the pioneers of its kind.
The event opened with a bang as the opening night was filled with an array of bookworms, from collectors to celebrities and page-turners of all sorts. Since its inception in 2006, the fair has become quite a spectacle, celebrating the art of the book and the community of its creators. This year’s fair included nearly 280 exhibitors from some of the art world’s most respected publishers, as well as the next generation of creators and magazine enthusiasts. One may wonder what cause there is to be so celebratory about this ancient medium, but of course the parameters of the exhibition extend far beyond just a spine, cover and pages. Each year the event features unique editions, zines, photographs, and posters, and oddities such as James Franco’s switchblade, or the shredded remains of books in a vacuum cleaner bag brought from Amsterdam.
I’ve always enjoyed this particular event. It’s fun, it’s nerdy, everyone’s hair is down and who doesn’t enjoy just browsing? In our current accessibility of handheld information, it’s still so exciting to surf through the plethora of artifacts, stumbling upon that great discovery, just like spending the afternoon at a record store. I still remember my jaw-dropping moment from last year’s event: a book that I found in the Zine tent that was made of entirely floppy discs! Some standout exhibitors this year included San Francisco based publisher The Thing, newcomers Gypse Eyes (Brooklyn) and the never disappointing 6 Decades Books (New York).
Although each exhibitor was vastly different from the next, there was consistent quality, production, and eye for selection demonstrated at a refined artistic level. It is inspiring to experience such passion towards a craft, and intriguing to witness the competition progress year after year. Whether buying, selling or just admiring the fair’s glowing excitement, it’s always a thrill to wander the halls of the old school building, diving from classroom to classroom, immersed amongst the pages of one book after another.
Sam Trioli is an artist and writer living and working in New York City.view all articles from this author