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It’s the middle of July in New York City. You may think you want to go to the Rockaways this weekend, but you’ll only end up sunburned. What you really want to do is spend your time and money supporting independent publishers, small presses, and artists and writers who self-publish. Thanks to Blonde Art Books’ fourth annual Bushwick Art Book and Zine (BABZ) Fair, happening July 16–17 at SIGNAL gallery, you can.
Since 2012, the Brooklyn-based Blonde Art Books has been devoted to promoting independent presses and self-publishers of art and poetry books, via its own printing endeavors, online resources, book-centric exhibits, and pop-ups events like the BABZ Fair. This year, the fair has ramped up its weekend-long programming and, for the first time, features multiple exhibitors from outside New York City, including Soberscove from Chicago and New Documents, from Los Angeles and Vancouver. There will be 30 exhibitors total, all of them showing new or recent publications, limited editions, and unique objects.
The BABZ Fair is a welcome, manageable size, but we find it’s still helpful to have a guide for navigating the talks and tables. Here are some of our editors’ picks for publishers and events to have on your radar.
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Dominica Publishing: A publishing venture of artist Martine Syms, Dominica seems resolutely experimental but also approachable in its output — think nontraditional writing that’s still got an eye on our culture. That can mean everything from Syms’s own book of found scans from a water-damaged copy of a monograph on the Black Panthers to a reprint of Diamond Stingily’s first diary, written when she was eight years old. At the fair, they’ll hopefully have Hannah Black’s book of time-collapsing essays and Sara Knox Hunter’s collection of sci-fi poems. —Jillian Steinhauer
Endless Editions: Run by Paul John and Anthony Tino, Endless Editions is dedicated to helping artists working on all types of media realize their print projects. There are always beautifully printed gems with unexpected focuses to be found at this booth: past memorable projects include Glen Baldridge’s short collection of photos of PT Cruisers; an ode to a flea market in Prague; and Talibam!’s many-layered VHS cassette project. —Claire Voon
Small Editions: The Brooklyn-based binder of beautiful artists’ books, zines, journals, and experimental design projects is bringing a selection of their gorgeous wares. Come get a hold of goodies like Andrea Bergart’s new book Scatterlings of Sinthian; the two latest editions in their series of feminist, artist-designed greeting cards (a collabo with Blonde Art Books); Will Rahilly’s gorgeous zine ØlllØ, a self-described “buffet for the eyes”; or BEVERLY FRE$H and Patrick Gantert’s reversible and collaborative artists’ book tTaAlLkK. —Benjamin Sutton
Ugly Duckling Presse: This Brooklyn-based publisher that emerged from a 1990s zine has consistently had an eye for talented, unconventional writers and artists from around the world, producing beautiful books that are often handmade and attentive to design. Some recent titles you may stumble upon include poems from Bernie Sanders’s 2010 filibuster speech and a translation of poems by the Syrian-Brazilian poet Waly Salomão. —Elisa Wouk Almino
Conversation with Nayland Blake – 7/16, 6pm: Blake, who contributes weekly comics to our site, has been a leader in queer zine culture for decades. In conversation with our editor-in-chief, Hrag Vartanian, he’ll discuss BRAINS: A Journal of Egghead Sexuality, his 1990 fetish zine published with D.L. Alvarez, as well as how self-publishing relates to the rest of his art practice. —Jillian Steinhauer
Mounting Frustration: Are There Any Words Left To Describe How Unjust This All Is? – 7/17, 5pm: If you follows the news, it’s been difficult lately to not feel like the world is coming to some kind of end. This event offers an acknowledgement and a response. Artist Andrea Arrubla has gathered four writers of color to give readings on the topic of “our collective and individual discontent … during the last twilight of the West.” —Jillian Steinhauer
Blonde Art Books’ Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair 2016 runs July 16–17, 1–7pm, at SIGNAL gallery (260 Johnson Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn). Hyperallergic is the media sponsor. Find all the participants and the full program of events here.