I was so busy this weekend hanging out at The NY Art Book Fair that I didn’t get a chance to blog. But here is my attempt at a re-cap of the first two days…
This year there were about 200 vendors spread out in the labyrinth of classrooms at PS1. The Fair opened early on Thursday evening for a preview. I was overwhelmed with the amount of publications to look at, but really excited about returning over the weekend to take a better look. The benefit party, at Deitch Projects in Long Island City, following the preview was fun. I attended with artists Jenn Brehm, Brent Owens, and Jennifer Sullivan. I had never visited Deitch L.I.C. before and the gallery space, which is in a warehouse right next to The East River, is huge. When we entered we all received an editioned Tom Sachs screwdriver with our tickets. We hung out, listened to DJs Tim Lokiec and Gary Murphy, ate some empanadas and had some drinks. I.U.D. didn’t play until 11, so I stayed for a bit of their set and then headed home for a good nights sleep before the weekend of events.
On Friday morning I attended The Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference session: ‘Empirical Experience: The Artist, Information, and the Book.’ The panel was moderated by Bernard Yenelouis who began the session with a history of data gathering and it’s relationship to artists books. In his lecture he mentioned Minimata, Michael Lesy’s Wisconsin Death Trip, Ed Ruscha’s Royal Road Test, Martha Rosler’s The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems, The Center for Land Use Interpretation‘s Points of Interest in Ohio, and Harun Farocki‘s still video images, as examples of artists books and projects that use information to get to a new kind of knowledge.
After Yenelouis’s introduction, William E. Jones spoke about his project Mansfield 1962. Mansfield 1962 started off as a film project. Jones had pieced together footage from the Mansfield, Ohio police department where they secretly documented a tea-room in the center of town. The police filmed 8 hours a day and Jones created his own film from the 16mm footage that he shows and following the screening explains the history of the situation. When Jones was asked to be a part of The Whitney Biennial he realized he would not be able to be present for each daily screening, so he decided the project should be made into a book. The second printing of the book Tearoom is available through 2nd Cannons Publications.
Jacqueline Hassink then spoke about her books The Table of Power and Car Girls. The Table of Power is Hassink’s series where she documents the conference room tables of international corporations. Car Girls is a series of photographs taken at car shows, of the women or girls who work there.
After The Conference session I went for a look around The Fair. The first magazine I stumbled upon was Graphic, a quarterly graphic design magazine from Seoul, Korea. Graphic explores one theme in each issue and is written in both Korean and English. Issue no.6 is themed ‘Magazines’ and it contains information about 39 Korean magazines and 61 other international magazines! I can’t wait to check that one out. I was really excited to see Korea represented at The Fair and look forward to seeing more issues.
Pyramid Power, from Vancouver, Canada was another art magazine that was new to me and I bought myself a copy of their most recent issue no.6, 2009. Pyramid Power is an art, design, and literature magazine that is published three times a year and is full of lush images. The issue I picked up has articles with Jonathan Meese, Mark DeLong & Jason McLean, and Dick Oulton, a commercial photographer from Vancouver whose amazing photographs can be seen below.
I then went over to Motto’s table and spoke with Alexis Zavialoff the head of Motto Distribution. He showed me a new magazine from France called May, which I later photographed at the Ooga Booga table. Alexis also gave me a copy of The Index to their One Day Self-Publishing Fair, which is a great resource full of magazines, zines, and books, etc. I have never heard of before.
It was a really busy day at The Fair. I also attended two events in The Classroom. First, Michalis Pichler presented his book Un Coup de Des Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard / A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance. The book is a copy of Stéphane Mallarmé’s book of the same name, however Pichler has cut out all of the words. In doing so, he creates a visual poem devoid of text. After Pichler gave a short description of his project we watched a video of the book being played on a player piano, the blank spaces struck the notes and created a song from the text. It was really interesting to see the book change from text to visual shape to music.
One of the most exciting events I was able to attend in The Classroom was my rediscovery of animator Daniel Barrow. I had seen an animation of his at The Kitchen a couple of years ago as part of an Astria Superak program. On Friday he presented his live animation The Face of Everything, a story loosely based on Liberace’s lovers. The animation was absolutely mesmerizing as Barrow narrated and moved images on transparencies over a projector.
Reports on the events of Saturday and Sunday coming soon…