This year marks Printed Matter’s 14th annual NY Art Book Fair (NYABF). The event continues this Saturday and Sunday at MoMA PS1’s sprawling campus. If you’re making your way to Long Island City for the anticipated event, make sure not to miss these highlights:
Dispersed Holdings, which describes itself as an artist-run listening space hosted by Sal Randolph and David Richardson, found itself in an unusual position. They moved into a space on the Bowery and then discovered it was renowned artist Eve Hesse’s former apartment. Their table at the New York Art Book Fair includes their recordings, publications, and even cushions from their space. They are one of many booths selling cassette tapes (it’s been a trend for the last few years) of music and other sound files. Their energy reminds me of some of the best qualities of quirky art world projects. —Hrag Vartanian
Visual AIDS is a contemporary arts organization that centers supporting artists living with HIV/AIDS and deploying accessible, artistic methods to encourage conversations about HIV stigma and uplift the voices of those affected by it. Among its offerings are books that transcribe illuminating conversations between artists like Kia LaBeija and Julia Tolentino; and Nayland Blake and Justin Vivian Bond. They also offer free “safer sex kits” that feature miniature portraits of ballroom figures made by queer artists. Each offers internal and external condoms and lubricants, as well as information on PrEP and PEP, mental health, homelessness, and more. —Jasmine Weber
Cory Arcangel’s work is well known and his “Fuck Negativity” merch seems perfectly suited to an artist who is associated with the internet — aka troll heaven. This line may not have evolved far from the original releases but it still feels like he’s made an effort to expand his work to incorporate new forms that are in line with his interest in the internet (so much of this looks like print-on-demand fare). There’s also a free “Coal Rollers” Slack Emoji set that is reputedly free (you give them your email and they send it, though I haven’t gotten mine yet 24 hours later). Overall, I wish more established artists did booths, and it would be even better if the artists showed up to attend them (like artist Tauba Auerbach did last year). —HV
Free Black Women’s Library
The Free Black Women’s Library has returned to the NYABF for its second year, this time with a nice and sunny spot in the courtyard. The mobile installation transported hundreds of books from of its massive collection, all of which are by Black women authors, to be enjoyed by the public free of charge. Last year, I interviewed its founder, OlaRonke Akinmowo, who told me: “I’ve always loved libraries. Even when I was a little girl, being in the library all day was one of my favorite things.” As an adult, she has transformed this vital public resource into a hub of Black feminist thought and representation. Before heading to the fair, I would suggest bringing a book by a Black woman author to trade, to help contribute to the flourishing assortment. —JW
Classic issues of the LA punk magazine and zine NOMAG are available at the Yes Press table and each one includes figures who have gone to become boldface names themselves, including Raymond Pettibon and Gary Panter. Yes Press, coincidentally, was founded by Bruce Kalberg and Ewa Wojciak, veteran publishers of NOMAG. —HV
Black Chalk & Co.
Black Chalk & Co., an interdisciplinary collective run out of Zimbabwe and Virginia, started in 2015 as a way to bring together writers, artists, and theorists hungry to forge new means of creative production. Its founders Nontsikelelo Mutiti and Tinashe Mushakavanhu have also collaborated on a digital resource to correct the lack of comprehensive education about Zimbabwean literature, Reading Zimbabwe. At the NYABF, you can check out their book Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats, a meditation on knowledge production between creatives from the African diaspora. —JW
Brain Washing from Phone Towers
Brain Washing from Phone Towers is an unusual Brooklyn press that relishes the long American tradition of pamphlet making. The results are color, brash, intimate, and attractive. There’s a foldable board game, reflecting on the urban ecosystem, and even one about New York City’s birds. Only at an art book fair would this type of material shine and, well, it does. —HV
Dan Farnum’s photo book Young Blood captures the angst and latent potential of young adults living in Michigan towns left economically depressed by the automobile industry. The images were taken over a decade of Farnum’s trips back to the town and surround areas where he grew up. —JW
Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair continues at MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens) through Sunday, September 22.