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Summer has finally bloomed in New York, meaning it’s about that time when the Brooklyn Art Book Fair returns with its annual showcase of independent artist-run presses and organizations. The fair, which was begun in 2017 out of a desire to make the art and publishing worlds more accessible, is one of the few that offers a free platform to vendors, allowing them to gain exposure without a financial barrier. At a time when small presses and arts organizations are being negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, along with many other sectors, such an opportunity is especially welcome.
Organized by Endless Editions, this year’s fair arrives as a virtual edition featuring 47 vendors, after a slight postponement out of respect for the continued protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. During its three-week pause, the fair focused on providing free printing services for individuals and organizations working to aid the Movement for Black Lives. (More on this below.)
Exhibitors for this first-ever online edition include old favorites like the Free Black Woman’s Library, Printed Matter, and Draw Down. Newcomers and other exciting exhibitors include Te Aprecio Foto, Fist, and Tropic Editions, a Hawai’i-based artists’ books imprint focused on supporting “critically engaged artists [in Hawaii] and across the tropical diaspora.” Works by artists Felli and Khari Johnson-Ricks will also be on view. The former uses analog photography to “challenge misrepresented histories of people from the African Diaspora,” while Ricks’s intricate, sensuous collages are always a feast for the eyes.
Guest curator Paige Landesberg has also organized a compelling lineup of interactive public programs (no static viewing rooms here). Among the many options, visitors will be able to catch a performance by experimental puppeteering collective Poncili Creación helmed by twins Pablo and Efrain Del Hierro, and Black Chalk & Co. will present a screening of Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats, an exquisite-corpse-style collaboration between seven artists, filmmakers, and photographers from Jamaica, Kenya, the US, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere.
Overwhelmed by the rich selection? Have no fear. As of Thursday, the fair’s website will feature a handy “random book” option for readers looking to embrace chance.
When: June 25–June 28
Where: Online, via Brooklyn Art Book Fair
Note: If you or an organizer/activist you know is in need of printing services (for flyers, posters, pamphlets) to support Black liberation, you can reach out to the fair at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Solidarity Printing Inquiry.”
All website images will include alt text, and programming will have live transcription available.