The first ever Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair consumed the entire MoCA Geffen space in Little Tokyo. Wall to wall people were everywhere. I talked to LA artist (and my grad school classmate at Art Center in Pasadena) Jennifer Moon, who was working the KCHUNG music radio station while I was there. One of the most amazing aspects of this absolutely tremendous cultural event was the barrage of printed artist materials, along with small but off the chart display cases loaded with seminal texts on various artists. I saw an Yves Klein Blue display case full of monographs that would be a dream to own. Reports says that over 15,000 persons attended over the four days of the event. There were over 220 presenters and publishers. The other remarkable aspect of the event is the volume of press coverage it received from New York. So now that the Paris LA Photo Fair is debuting at Paramount Studios next month, with true world class galleries, this is clearly another major signal of LA’s ascension as an artistic center.
Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles
LA ART BOOK FAIR
Appreciating… Fulton Ryder
Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 13 Feb 2013
Of the many exhibitors at the LA Art Book Fair, a few managed to stand out in our memory despite the daunting high volume of amazing content. One of these exhibitors was Fulton Ryder, a New York-based bookshop, gallery, and publisher. Their space at the fair offered a wonderfully entertaining array of smutty novels, Raymond Pettibon zines (!!!), amazing records, and Richard Prince artworks. From what we gathered, they do not have a solid location; they operate out of ever-changing pop-up locations, keeping you on your toes and that much more willing to be on their email list to see what might come next. http://www.fultonryder.com/
All images courtesy of Fulton Ryder
The age of the e-book has created a quandary for people who like to display the things they read (or aspire to read) on the shelves in their homes. Your e-reader may hold a PhD’s worth of Jacques Lacan tomes, but how will your dinner guests know about it? Enter the E-Book Shelf Surrogate (click the image above to supersize), introduced by Hol Art Books at the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair. At the fair, any visitors who pick up an e-book, will also get an 11×17 print that can be folded into the model of a paper back book, so that you may chicly and casually show off your intellectual ability to your friends. All for only $15!
Tip: while you’re there, pop over to the Gagosian booth, where they’re selling a Destroy All Monsters zine with CD for $30. Probably the only thing I’ll ever be able to afford at Gago, besides the sneering condescension (which is free).
The fair is on through Sunday 6pm, at MOCA Geffen in Little Tokyo.
Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR 2013
Printed Matter’s first annual LA Art Book Fair was a massive success, filling the 40,000 square foot Geffen Contemporary at MOCA with 220 exhibitors from 21 countries, as well as a number of exhibitions, two theaters, and non-stop programming from the opening on Thursday, January 31, to the final reluctant moments of closing on the evening of Sunday, February 3.
The opening set the pace, with more than 2600 people showing up for the preview, breaking all records of its sister-fair, Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair, which completed its seventh successful showing last September. On Saturday, almost 6,000 people poured through the Geffen in a torrent of enthusiasm. By the end of the Fair, the event, which many predicted would see very small crowds indeed, had attracted more than 15,000 Angelinos.
Of the exhibitors, many were loyal exhibitors from the NY Art Book Fair, coming from as far away as Berlin, London, Milan, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, and Zurich, as well as New York itself. But about 30% of the Fair consisted of new faces, mostly from the west coast, and many exhibitors and fair goers commented on the “mellow vibe” of the LA Art Book Fair.
There’s been plenty of art world cynicism [in Los Angeles], but there was nothing cynical about the LA Art Book Fair. It was a joyful celebration that drew a wonderful mix of academics, punks, artists, radicals, Westside moms, collectors, and bibliophiles. After a very well attended Thursday night opening, the fair went viral. People came back in huge numbers! Congratulations Printed Matter!
— an exhibitor
AA Bronson, the Founding Director of the LA Art Book Fair, said: “Los Angeles is a hotbed of alternative publishing, even though many people in the art world might not think of L.A. as a serious place for publishing. In the process of assembling the fair, the history of the zine and of skateboarding culture rapidly came to the fore, and that is reflected in ZINE WORLD, the massive assembling of exhibitions, programming and exhibitors that dominated one side of the Fair. Some people don’t like to think of zines and zinesters as serious publishing, but the cultural importance of zines was amply demonstrated by exhibitions like Phil Aarons’ ZINE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE or Darin Klein’s GSD: Skate Fate Till Today. The other aspect of publishing here is the very experiential emphasis on publishing: books are seen as part of a larger fabric and a way of being in the world: Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse comes to mind, a total hit during the fair, but also others like IKO IKO, Ooga Booga, Paper Chase, SPA, Jimmy the Zine, or the zines and posters of Eve Fowler.”
The LA Art Book Fair was dominated by histories of Los Angeles, not only the fair’s own exhibitions, but also Boo-Hooray’s massive LARRY CLARK STUFF, and Alden Projects’ exhibition L.A. Air: Still Breathing, featuring works from the “golden age of smog.”
The many antiquarians present at the Fair participated in that historical revelation: Laurence McGilvery (Santa Barbara) was the senior statesman of the antiquarians, bringing a long history of dedication to California culture with him. Monograph Bookwerks (Portland, OR) showed ephemera and posters from California’s rich history. And 6 Decades (New York) featured a rare copy of Bruce Nauman’s LA Air, which seemed to be the touchstone, or at least the theme song, of the LA Art Book Fair.
A tribute to Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley, presented by Gagosian, and a tribute to the San Francisco rare book dealer, gentleman, and scholar Steven Leiber, completed that history. The first anniversary of both of their deaths fell close to the dates of the Fair.
AA Bronson also announced his resignation from Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fairs to undertake a one-year residency in Berlin at the invitation of the prestigious DAAD. “After eight fairs,” he said, “I am eager to immerse myself in my own work, especially my exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson, which opens in Rotterdam at Witte de With in September.”
Printed Matter’s Executive Director, James Jenkin announced today the appointment of Shannon Michael Cane as the Curator of Printed Matter’s NY and LA Art Book Fairs. Shannon joined Printed Matter in 2008 and has held various roles with the organization. James Jenkin says, “We are indebted to the great work AA Bronson has done directing our NY Art Book Fair and for bringing our inaugural LA Art Book Fair to life. The incredible response to both Fairs shows that the renaissance in artist book publishing continues unabated. I’m pleased that through our Fairs Printed Matter can play a part in showcasing the amazing things that are going on in what is an incredibly dynamic field right now. I’m confident that with his extensive first hand and grass roots knowledge of artist book publishing Shannon will bring an incredibly interesting curatorial vision to the Fairs, and that they will continue to grow from strength to strength. We’re hoping to announce the next dates for both NY and LA very soon.”
DATE: 2/1/2013 | BY JANE BROWN
The opening night of the first LOS ANGELES ART BOOK FAIR wildly surpassed expectations for both exhibitors and attendees, drawing thousands of artists, collectors and cultural figures to the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, where more than 200 independent and visionary publishers set up shop for the weekend.
Angelinos were awed by the sheer scale and scope of the show, which features an homage to Mike Kelley, a Larry Clark pop-up shop, a John Armleder installation and dozens of booths for independent publishers and bookmakers, including our own, above. The fair unabashedly celebrates the beauty of the book as art object, and offers a wide variety of inspiring material—from one-of-a-kind artist’s books, hand-made publications, ephemera and zines, to rare and out-of-print first editions. At the opening Thursday, many attendees expressed delight at the range and depth of publications on view, and adjusted their plans to see the show over the course of several days, rather than one night.
Lisa Pearson of Siglio Press remarked in the Los Angeles Times, “This is where the renegades, the contrarians, the visionaries, the idealists live…the artists who take on a more intimate, small-scale, sometimes ephemeral forms… and the publishers who are finding ways to realize those works, put them in the world, and build an audience for them.”
The fair is being held at the Frank Gehry-designed Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. It’s free and open to the public, and offers a unique opportunity to see artists’ books, exhibition catalogs, monographs, periodicals and zines by 220 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from twenty-one countries.
The LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to the east coast’s beloved NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in Long Island City. Veteran exhibitors from the New York fair are so far pleased with the crowds, and say sales and attendance are on par with the original venue, also organized by the legendary non-profit, Printed Matter, but hosted by MoMA PS1.
The ARTBOOK | D.A.P. booth features primarily Los Angeles artists, as well as newly released titles and a selection of signed, rare and out of print editions.
Zine World at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Courtesy Printed Matter, Inc.
The first ever Los Angeles Art Book Fair, presented by Printed Matter, Inc. at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary space, from January 31 though February 3, was an unexpected raging success. “Completely overwhelming” was the most commonly heard descriptor when talking about the high-energy fair, which featured over 200 exhibitors from all over the world, showcasing a broad range of zines, artists’ books, journals, periodicals, catalogues, monographs and various other projects, exhibits and artifacts to an enthusiastic crowd that totaled over 15,000 by fair’s end.
It was amazing and heartening to me that a museum filled with publications could be the impetus, in this day of digital overload and rampant cultural illiteracy, to what felt like the hottest party of the year. The fair was consistently packed, with a lively and diverse crowd that included art connoisseurs, zine hounds of every stripe, and culture lovers in general. Even with the Geffen’s abundance of space, it was often difficult to maneuver, and at some of the more popular tables, I had to wait my turn before I could even see the offerings. Numerous celebrities—including James Franco, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Lena Dunham—were spotted in the crowds, happily shopping along with everyone else.
I could have easily camped out there all weekend, immersing myself not only in the endless collections of cool books, but also the many talks, panels, readings, screenings and performances; the tea/yoga/knitting/reading lounge hosted by Sundown Schoolhouse; and the live, interactive KCHUNG Radio broadcasts. As it was, my schedule only permitted me to attend the intensely social opening night and after-party (the latter of which was held at the new 356 Mission space, home to a suite of large paintings by Laura Owens as well as the just-opened Ooga Booga 2 bookstore), and the last few hours of the fair, which I spent diligently going through as many booths as I could. Like many people, I spent too much money, but I was blissfully happy with my findings.
(L) Llano Del Rio’s “An Antagonist’s Guide to the Assholes of Los Angeles.” (R) Miniature Garden’s “Exene”
Many periodical publishers rushed to put together new issues in time for the fair. Among these were Darin Klein and Friends’ Box of Books (discussed in my last column), and the new L.A. artist-run space Concord, which launched a beautiful large-format collection of writings with a print run of only 30 copies or so. Llano del Rio Collective, which has been creating alternative maps of L.A. for a few years now, came out with their most provocative issue to date, titled An Antagonist’s Guide to the Assholes of Los Angeles. Positioning itself as a sourcebook for artists and thinkers, each Llano del Rio guide sketches out a particular framework with which to consider the dynamics of this endlessly complex and layered city. Assholes features several intriguing essays centered on ideas of creative agitation, including a hilarious rant from Art21 contributor Lisa Anne Auerbach, along with a long list of annoying sites in the city (American Apparel, Boeing, Brentwood, Twin Towers Correctional Facility, UCLA, KB Homes, Bitch in the Hummer, etc.) sourced from friends and colleagues.
itch journal #15. Designed by Tanya Rubbak and Joanna Rosso.
The journal itch is one of the under-recognized treasures of the L.A. art publishing scene. Operated since 2006 by members of the city’s small progressive dance community, itch calls itself “an evolving art project qua artist forum cum journal/zine,” and it consistently puts out a high-quality collage of essays, poetry, meditations, stories, interviews and images, with each issue centered around a well-thought out theme. For their fifteenth issue, they employed the services of popular artist-designer Tanya Rubbak, working in collaboration with Joanna Rosso, to produce their most striking offering yet—a magazine that consists of a bundle of loose individual pamphlets and photographs, held together by a see-through plastic sleeve. With each piece having its own size and style, the collection functions like an unruly art object—individual pieces tumble out when handled, evoking the movements of dance and handily living up to the journal’s name.
Fair organizer AA Bronson (far right) hangs out with the deejays of KCHUNG Radio. Courtesy KCHUNG Radio.
Most of my purchases in Zine World (the biggest and most popular section of the fair) came from local publishers, which makes sense given organizer AA Bronson’s observation that L.A. is the current “epicenter” of zine publishing. One of my favorite finds, however, came from a little organization of unknown provenance called Miniature Garden. From what I can tell, Miniature Garden puts out little limited edition books centered around discrete themes. The one I stumbled across that completely won my heart was titled Exene (by Casey Cook and Denise Schatz), and is basically a Valentine to the beloved singer/writer/artist. Each page bears an image that is evocative of her work, with some collaging images of the artist herself. In the center of the book, for the win, is a small dried rose.
Thanks to the lovely exhibitors at Torpedo Press, an art publishing house based in Oslo, I may be developing an obsession with Norwegian artists. When I found out where they were from, I asked the attendants if they knew Tori Wrånes, an outstanding artist whom I got to know during her stays in L.A. last year and the year before. They did of course, since the Norwegian art community is fairly small. We talked about how amazing Tori is, and they introduced me to several more native artists, whose books they carried. I walked away with some conceptual poetry by Karl Larsson, a compilation of the projects of internationally-known curator Geir Haraldseth, and a monograph by the artist Mai Hofstad Gunnes titled Baby Snakes Hatching. Ruins. Ruins.
Three zines by L.A.-based artist Esther Pearl Watson (bottom left) along with historic Fluxus notes and a conceptual pulp romance novel from Sara Ranchouse Publishing (right and top).
My wallet was finally done in by the hopelessly charming Sara Ranchouse Publishing enterprise. Although I tried to resist its draw, editor and author Sally Alatalo was relentless in conveying the excellence of her various projects. I could not pass up a book that reproduces the 1982 Fluxus conference notes, photos and ephemera of Simon Anderson, the first scholar to do his Ph.D. dissertation on the movement. Nor could I not buy Unforeseen Alliances, part of the Sara Ranchouse Romance series, which makes new and fantastic conceptual literary works out of the raw material of actual romance novels. And if I’d had an extra $50 lying around, I also would have picked up Alison Knowles’ Plah Plah Pli Plah, a stunning volume incorporating handmade paper with bits of garden vegetables woven into it.
Pastor Kate Durbin and Guru Rugu perform “Turbani Rugduke Guru Urchch.” Photo: Sarah Williams.
With such a wide range of publications to look at, I had no time for any of the special events. Luckily some of the best ones are archived. The KCHUNG Radio broadcasts, including an interview with AA Bronson, can be accessed here, while a religious service conducted by Signify Sanctify Believe (whose Library of Sacred Technologies I wrote about here two months ago) can be viewed in full here.
One Response to “Word is a Virus | Fan Letter: Printed Matter’s First Los Angeles Art Book Fair”
Carrie Ida Edinger on February 18, 2013 3:49 pm
Thanks for sharing another mode of public access to zines. In Southern Graphic Council International newsletter, Graphic Impressions, my article Zines and the Transition of Media covers the archival process of zines. One of the LA Book Fair Exhibitors, Booklyn Artists Alliance, is featured in the article as well.
Here is the link to the newsletter
Who Says LA Doesn’t Read? Inaugural LA Art Book Fair Opens Today
AA Bronson at the LA Art Book Fair today (all images courtesy LA Art Book Fair)
AA Bronson, the internationally recognized artist and former president of New York’s Printed Matter artist-book store, is currently in Los Angeles to launch the first ever LA Art Book Fair at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary space in downtown LA.
Bronson, who is also the director of the NY Art Book Fair, says he’s been thinking about an LA companion to the popular New York event for about three years now. ”At the NY Art Book Fair we noticed an enormous underground publishing activity going on in Los Angeles. While the popular truism was that Angelinos don’t read books, the truth is that there are pockets of young people publishing various sorts of alternative publications all over the city and beyond,” he says. “Only in Brooklyn and Berlin did we see such a profusion of publishing innovation.”
The question he explained is what would an LA art book fair look like and how would it be different? “When I began conceiving what the LA Art Book Fair might be, I knew that it was fundamentally something very different from the NY Art Book Fair. But I did not know what that difference might be,” Bronson says. “I soon realized that the way to go was to let the Fair take its own shape, go with the interests that came my way and see what it might become.”
Bronson made the ambitious decision to devote one of the two buildings that are part of the Geffen Contemporary complex to zines. “It quickly became apparent that zine publishing and the history of zine publishing is fundamental to any idea of what LA is about, we put aside an entire building and called it Zine World,” he says.
Listening to Bronson explain the diversity of the city’s zine offerings makes you wish you could fly to LA yourself to see the riches:
At one end of the spectrum we have the exhibition Larry Clark Stuff, organized by Boo-Hooray, as well as Zine Masters of the Universe, a collection of zines by Ari Marcopoulos, Dash Snow, Mark Gonzales and Raymond Pettibon, drawn from the collection of Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons. GSD: Skate Fate Till Today is a history of the early zine Skate Fate, which many Angelinos see as marking the beginnings of local zine culture. And Bedwetter and Beyong: The Complete Bookworks of Christopher Russell shows the works of one contemporary artist, his roots in zine publishing and how that has flowered in the art world context today. Both those exhibitions are curated by Darin Klein, who also programmed an astonishing lineup of talks, performances and film in our Zine World Theater. This group of exhibitions and activities, which I see as a history of LA publishing, are brought into focus by the very active presence of more than 80 zinesters who display their wares in person, from California and beyond.
A tribute to artist Mike Kelly, presented by Gagosian, and a tribute to the San Francisco rare book dealer, gentleman, and scholar Steven Leiber, complete that history. The first anniversary of both of their deaths falls close to the dates of the Fair.
But zines aren’t the only notable aspect of LA’s art publishing scene, according to Bronson:
The other aspect of Los Angeles that quickly came to the fore was a more experiential approach to making art and making publications. Los Angelenos exhibitors like IKO IKO, Paper Chase, Otherwild and Public Fiction have a much more eclectic approach to the place that publications hold within the larger culture. Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse epitomizes that approach, mixing a kind of hang-out den with yoga lessons, tea, and “book club meetings.” KChung is a pirate radio station run by artists and brings a novel form of on-site “publishing” to the Fair.
The Fair director says that while he initially worried that the inaugural LA Art Book Fair might be small, the opposite proved to be true as they’ve collected 220 exhibitors from 21 countries for the debut, including 80 zinesters, 20 magazines, 15 internationally known antiquarians, and a heap of small publishers and self-publishing artists.
He says that some people may think they’re taking a chance with the emphasis on zines, which many think is too specialized of a subculture, but Bronson has a hunch that the “complex octopus” of zine culture with its many generations, ethnic and racial groups, and other special interest groups will warrant the attention. “My prediction is that Zine World will be by far the most popular (and populist) part of the show,” he says.
Yet don’t think zines will be the only focus of this large celebration of arts publishing. ”The biggest surprise to me has been the depth and breadth of the rare book dealers in considering Los Angeles. Several dealers, like Alden Projects (New York), Boo-Hooray (New York), Laurence McGilvery (Santa Barbara), Monograph Bookwerks (Portland, OR), and LEADAPRON (Los Angeles) have very particular takes on the history of Los Angeles,” he says. “Everyone has dug deep into their archives to find an astonishing array of publications, posters, and ephemera, with a particular emphasis, it seems to me, on the 60s and 70s — in the case of Alden Projects, his works span the years of 1959 to 1973, ‘the city’s golden era of smog.’”
The LA Art Book Fair event is free and open to the public. Hours and Location of the LA Art Book Fair:
Thursday, January 31, 6–9pm (Preview)
Friday, February 1, 11am–5pm
Saturday, February 2, 11am–6pm
Sunday, February 3, 11am–6pm
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (map)
What You’re Doing This Weekend: Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair
My love of print began in elementary school with the Weekly Reader. Here was a magazine that tailored to my adolescent interests (pandas, weaving, outer space) and you could also buy books from it. Last night I checked out the opening of NYC bookstore Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair at MOCA and could barely contain myself. I mean, a museum that I love and you can buy books from it?
All kidding aside, the Art Book Fair is not to be missed. Rarely will you find such a diverse collection of art books, monographs, zines, screen prints and the like under one roof. Perusing the selections of the two-hundred-plus indie publishers, booksellers, international presses and collectors is somewhat exhausting but more so exhilarating. At one table I skimmed a forty-year-old Lawrence Weiner catalog from a show in Germany. At another I found sold-out back issues of The Thing Quarterly. (Mike Mills will be signing his issue on Sunday.)
All of MOCA’S nooks and crannies are maximized to their full potential by the various participants in the fair. Check out the Gagosian’s tribute to the late LA artist Mike Kelley in the form of a library reading room. I recharged by listening to local DJs from KChung radio who are tucked away in a sort of “chill lounge.” For even more relaxation, venture to the Sundown Schoolhouse Drop-In-Center, a cafe cum yoga lounge, knitting circle, nap space where you can get acquainted with the group before their upcoming program with the Hammer in March.
The impressively massive Zine World takes over MOCA’s largest wing and houses exhibitions by Raymond Pettibon, Dash Snow, Mark Gonzales, Ari Macopoulos and Christopher Russell. BOO-HOORAY hosts a Larry Clark Pop-Up_Shop featuring the filmmaker’s photographs, posters and film paraphernalia. The Zine World Theater is running live performances, artist conversations and film screenings all weekend.
There is truly something for everyone at Printed Matter, even if it’s just the cash bar and trusty food trucks outside. The LA Art Book Fair is a free event running this weekend only. Check here for the full schedule of events.
February 1–3, 2013
Friday 11AM – 5PM
Saturday and Sunday 11 AM – 6PM
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Little Joe, Lena Dunham, and a Lapdog: A Visit to the LA Art Book Fair
February 11, 2013 | By
“Los Angeles is not a city, but a series of suburban approaches to a city that never materializes.” So writes Gavin Lambert in The Slide Area. Lambert’s underrated 1959 novel kept me company on my most recent foray to LA, for the LA Art Book Fair. Say what you will about Los Angeles, its vulgarities are endearingly familiar—with each visit, it seems less and less pretentious and obscene than tech-addled San Francisco. Though we have our antiquarian and anarchist book fairs and library book sales, its hard to envision such an overwhelmingly well-attended gathering in honor of creative printed matter here in the land of the Kindle.
The “Zine World” subsection of the LA Art Book Fair.
The Art Book Fair is a free event. Both of the days I attended, I was drawn like a magnet to the “Zine World” subsection of the fair. There, I found former SF resident Edie Fake at one table, selling new self-published works such as Sweetmeats (issue #2 of which has witchy powers), as well as copies of her visionary graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix. When she isn’t creating revelatory works with a distinct, dynamic look, Edie works at Quimby’s, a Chicago zine and book emporium similar to SF’s Needles & Pens. The latter’s table at the fair was doing brisk business when I stopped by to pick up a new copy of Sy Wagon’s Those Fucking Unicorns, a diminutive comic that packs a potent sexual punch. Sy will be showing new paintings at an anti-Valentine’s Day show at Sub-Mission this Thursday.
Edie Fake at the LA Art Book Fair.
The main motivation for my visit to the fair was the publication of issue number four of Little Joe, London-based Sam Ashby’s handsomely-designed collection of words and images dedicated to “queers and cinema, mostly.” I interview Mike Kuchar within the issue, and Sam couples the text with stills from Mike’s “pictures,” as well as some awesomely lusty drawings and a comic book, also by Mike. Along with Bradford Nordeen of the New York screening series Dirty Looks, Little Joe presented a pair of screenings at the fair, including a bouquet of short videos by Mike. On the fair’s last day, one customer at the Little Joe table was Lena Dunham of Girls fame, so I had the wry pleasure of knowing that “the voice of her generation” (per the cover of Entertainment Weekly) would be reading my words.
Sam Ashby of Little Joe and Bradford Nordeen of Dirty Looks at the LA Art Book Fair.
Another reason for attending the Art Book Fair was to check on the progress of A Diva’s Lapdog, a zine I made in 1998 that I reprinted for Margaret Tedesco to sell at her [2nd floor projects] table. A Diva’s Lapdog is a biography of Maria Callas, penned or pawed by the poodle who knew her best, her pet dog, Toy. To quote from the book’s inner jacket copy: “Dynamically illustrated, A Diva’s Lapdog discusses the close bond between Callas, gay men, and poodles; Callas’s mistreatment by newspapers and wars with operatic patriarchs; and Callas’s unique philosophies regarding work and performance.” By the end of the fair, the zine had sold out, and Printed Matter in New York and Ooga Booga in Los Angeles had asked to carry it. Not bad for one little poodle.
The latest print edition of A Diva’s Lapdog in all of its glory.
While the LA Art Book Fair has come to an end, one local aftermath bonus is that it’s attracted Bradford Nordeen of Dirty Looks to California for an extended visit. This weekend, the Dirty Looks road show brings a pair of screenings to town. On Valentine’s night at SFMOMA, “Yesterday Once More” showcases work by Zackary Drucker, Mariah Garnett (whose Encounters I May or May Not Have Had with Peter Berlin I can’t wait to see), Chris E. Vargas, and Matt Wolf, the director of the tender Arthur Russell documentary Wild Combination, who’s sharing a short work devoted to Joe Brainard. The next evening brings “Pickle Surprise! The Films of Tom Rubnitz,” at Artist’s Television Access. Be my bloody valentine and make it to both events.
Lena Dunham clasps onto Little Joe for dear life at the LA Art Book Fair.
TIME OUT LOS ANGELES
LA Art Book Fair
Printed Matter presents the first LA Art Book Fair, a unique (and free!) event showcasing artists’ books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals and zines. Over 220 international presses, booksellers and independent publishers from twenty-one countries come together to hawk their wordy wares at this companion fair to New York’s Art Book Fair, and if the east coast version is any indicator, it’s not to be missed. Peruse naughty pulp paperbacks, catalogues full of fancy modern art, and books that you don’t really “read” so much as just admire. Highlights to look for: PIN-UP (an “architectural entertainment” magazine); Darin Klein & Friends (a box set of zines by a smattering of up-and-coming artists, including newcomer highlight Peter Sebeckis); and work from Night Gallery, the hipster darling of the LA gallery scene.
LA Art Book Fair Heads West
2012’s New York Art Book Fair, held annually at MoMA PS1, was a rousing success—featuring 283 vendors, and over 20,000 guests, ranging in scope from rare book antiquarians to anarchist zine publishers, crammed into crowded galleries and tents, representing a global community of people who are not resigned to the death of print media, but rather embrace its multifaceted reemergence. “Marshall McLuhan once said that when a medium dies, that’s when artists take it over,” says A.A Bronson, former director of Printed Matter and the director of the LA and NY Art Book fairs. “So, it feels totally right to me that artists’ publications should be exploding all around us.”
Exploding to such an extent that from February 1-3, the two expansive buildings of Los Angeles’ Geffen Contemporary at MOCA will open their doors to 220 vendors from all over the world, inaugurating the first Los Angeles Art Book Fair. Acting as a symposium of artist’s books, independent and small-press publishing, zine, print, and multiple making, the LAABF comes drenched in a vivid history of California book culture, which is heavily celebrated at the fair. “I would say about 25 to 30 percent of the exhibitors are from California,” says Bronson. “There’s a lot of California history being woven into the show.”
Xeroxed copies of Skate Fate, the original skateboarding zine that ran from 1981-1991, are present, as well as contributions, catalogs, and the overarching presences of California conceptual publication forefathers, such as John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha (whose son, the musician Eddie Ruscha Jr., will aptly be playing the opening).
In addition to the vendors, the LAABF will also host numerous exhibitions and lectures throughout the weekend, including “Zine Masters of the Universe,” which features zines by Mark Gonzales, Ari Marcopoulos, Raymond Pettibon, and Dash Snow. NYABF veterans such as Portland’s Publication Studio will be present, exhibiting small press publications, including Heather Guertin’s new novella, Model Turned Comedian. A library and lecture will celebrate the work of late California artist Mike Kelley, in addition to yoga classes, book groups and even panels on student loan debt.
The coastal shift of the fair, is indicative of the lasting power of the medium of artist’s books, says Bronson. “I think this whole world of visual publishing that we see at the book fair is here to stay,” he says. “And it’s only going to get bigger.”
THE LOS ANGELES ART BOOK FAIR PREVIEWS JANUARY 31 AND RUNS UNTIL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, AT GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY, 152 NORTH CENTRAL AVENUE, LOS ANGELES, CA.
From Los Angeles: L.A. Art Book Fair
Jan 31 – Feb 03
The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
From January 31 to February 3, the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) hosted the L.A. Art Book Fair (LAABF). Since 2005, Printed Matter, Inc. has organized New York’s strongest argument for arts publishing: the New York Art Book Fair. Founded by AA Bronson while he was president of Printed Matter, the fair began as a response to the disintegration of art-book outlets in New York City. In an October 2008 article in Artforum, Bronson lamented New York’s loss of “the great bookstores of the world . . . We have the shop at MoMA, where the number of titles has decreased; the shop at the Whitney, which is pretty sad; and the shop at the New Museum, which is very pretty, but it has nowhere near as many titles as it used to.” At the time of the New York Art Book Fair’s founding, independent brick-and-mortar sources for art books had all but vanished—and in 2013, that is also true in Los Angeles.
Positioned at the intersection of alternative and traditional publishing, in-house studio imprints, artists’ media experiments, and the contemporary art fair, the LAABF was an undeniably overwhelming affair. The clearest curatorial through-line of the LAABF seemed to be that contemporary arts publishing is infinitely diverse. Major publishers like the Hammer Museum sold catalogues while Last Gasp hawked graphic novels. Higher-priced alternative publishers like the San Francisco–based The Thing (which has recently raised its subscription price to $240 for quarterly installments of artist objects) was present, as were experiential projects like Werkplaats Typografie—a masters program for designers in the Netherlands that broadcasted live performances of student publications throughout the fair—and KChung Radio, an independent Chinatown station on the AM dial.
As with the New York Art Book Fair, there were also live performances and events at the L.A. fair. These were focused on Mike Kelley, including a lecture from John C. Welchman and a library installation curated by contributors with associations to Kelley. Ancillary events were presented outside the fair by vendors; among the strongest was “Rituals and Congregations” organized by the L.A.-based journal Native Strategies at Human Resources. But for all of these thematic moments of cohesion, there was also a decided turn away from any obvious organizational patterns. At the LAABF, all manner of publishers were clustered, as Bronson explained, “so that no one publishing type was ghettoized.” This gave the fair a particular all-comers feel—despite the fact that tables were available by invite only—which imbued the event with a certain energy that could be either exciting or exhausting, depending on one’s personal taste.
Regardless, the sense that Los Angeles has been waiting for this moment was pervasive throughout the weekend. We really have nothing else like it in the state of California, as evidenced by the number of sellers and visitors I spoke with who expressed relief at not having to go all the way to New York for this year’s fair. Why it took seven years for the Art Book Fair to make its way to Los Angeles may have something to do with the recognition that California—like the
Zine World at the L.A. Art Book Fair, 2013. Courtesy of Ted Vadakan and Poketo, the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
L.A. Art Book Fair, 2013. Courtesy of AA Bronson and the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
rest of the country, and in tandem with the global publishing industry—is struggling with a dearth of high-end or otherwise traditional art-book sellers.
The LAABF is a welcome addition in California, where there has been an explosion in artist zines, artist publishing projects, and specialized printed-matter boutiques since the 1970s. This interest in independent and DIY publishing was on display in the LAABF’s Zine World, an entire gallery dedicated to mostly Southern California zine-makers, including several dozen display cases of Raymond Pettibon and Ari Marcopoulos zines under the title “Zine Masters of the Universe.” Zine World was located in the annexed gallery on the south side of the Geffen, a massive concrete hall without the pretension of the rest of the museum. In the context of the sprawling publishers’ fair filling the rest of the Geffen—with equal representation from international organizations like Aperture to L.A.-focused vendors like Otherwild, which sold embroidered lesbian-themed throw pillows—one is provoked to wonder what distinguishes a zine from an independently published artist’s book. This question is echoed in Bronson’s lamentation above, as bookstores become reminiscent of galleries even while gift shops take up ever more real estate within museums.
Comparing the works presented at Zine World with those selling at this month’s L.A. Zine Fest, for instance (think Maximum Rocknroll and East Village Inky), further complicates the location of zines within art publishing. The zine-sters at LAABF presented a noticeable self-awareness in terms of their medium’s historical relationship to punk rock (in the form of CrimethInc.), underground queer culture (Anal), and amateurism (Otherwild), while also engaging with the LAABF impulse to situate the zine as an art work and the publishing process as an art practice. While perhaps less affiliated with some other alt-press lineages—fandom, anarchism, feminist-librarianism, and the perzine, ever-present at the Zine Fest—the presence of Zine World at LAABF may point to an increasing awareness of the zine as a seminal document in the chronology of art publishing.
That being said, it was LAABF zones like Zine World and the KChung gallery that made the book fair feel like something special, something peculiar to Los Angeles—indeed, something dynamic—and not just a New York art-book trade fair shipped in for the weekend. And, criticism of the MOCA’s new management aside, it wasn’t until Jeffrey Deitch took the helm that the Art Book Fair finally put down roots in Southern California. With more than six thousand visitors to the Geffen in a single weekend, it is also unlikely Los Angeles has seen the end of the Art Book Fair. This is thankful news, as the Art Book Fair, and the interrogations it makes around both the past and future of art publishing, may be uniquely positioned to document the shifts in our contemporary media zeitgeist.
The L. A. Art Book Fair was held at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, from January 31 to February 3, 2013.
on the front lines of cultural chaos since 1984.
Exhibition A Heads to the LA Art Book Fair
Mark Flood, Miami Beach LIKE
Online art store/gallery Exhibition A
is decamping for Printed Matter
‘s inaugural LA Art Book Fair
— which presents “artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines”
and is the West Coast counterpart to the NY Art Book Fair — tomorrow and we have an exclusive sneak peek at some of the prints for sale in their booth. “Our booth will feature a selection of editions with varying connections to Los Angeles and Hollywood,” says Exhibition A’s Director of Operations, Gretchen Scott. To that end, they’ll be featuring a drawing of Easy Rider
-era Peter Fonda by Steve DiBenedetto (below), a print referencing films like Rushmore
and La Jetée
by Slater Bradley and a “speaks for itself” weed photograph by Andrew Zuckerman — all of which will go on sale via Exhibition A’s website next month. Additionally, they’re selling print editions by artist Wes Lang, which will benefit Printed Matter and help cover some of the damage costs they incurred during Hurricane Sandy. Take a look at some of the preview images below and, if you’re in L.A., head over to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA for the art fair, which opens tomorrow and runs through February 3.
Wes Lang, Standing on the Moon
Slater Bradley, Paid Their Tolls / Never Got Through
Peter Sutherland, Dry Ice
Sam Falls, Color and Temperature
Andrew Zuckerman, Cannabis saliva sp. Indica cultivar
Steve DiBenedetto, Altered Hand-Touched Print, Fonda in the Weeds