by Meaghan Kent
September 20, 2013
The eighth annual NY Art Book Fair opens this Thursday night at MoMA PS1 and runs through Sunday, September 22nd. I can’t think of a better way to feel nostalgic and get that back-to-school feeling than to maneuver through the crowds at PS1 and thumb through monographs, catalogues, periodicals, zines, and artist books. What marks this fair above all others is its accessibility; no need to pay for ridiculously overpriced tickets because it’s free to the public, as it should be. It’s also impossible to go home empty handed. I anticipate many wonderful surprises, ranging from more established/longer running publications to newer, grassroots, handmade objects. My strategy is always to map out a few must see spots ahead of time and then let myself get totally lost in the mix. It’s also good to note the talks and panels planned throughout the weekend for the Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference, most notably Clive Phillpot and Christophe Cherix’s conversation on 50 years of artist books on opening night.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with the Exhibition Histories. I’m excited by the combined methods of source material and pure storytelling. I started with Exhibiting the New Art: ‘Op Losse Schroeven’ and ‘When Attitudes Become Form’ 1969; and I have been making my way through the whole series (Making Art Global (Part 1): The Third Havana Biennial 1989, Making Art Global (Part 2): ‘Magiciens de la Terre’ 1989, and now From Conceptualism to Feminism: Lucy Lippard’s Numbers Shows 1969–74). This year I’m looking for Rodney Graham: Phonokinetoscope from the One Work series (side note: the work was included in Thomas Demand’s excellent exhibition, “La Carte D’Apres Nature” at Matthew Marks in 2011.) Delving into one single work is simply not done enough. Afterall is based in London.
This Paris based publication series, established in 2000, make artist books that are so beautiful they should really be considered pure art objects (I am biased to Simon Starling’s 27 Homemade Henningsen Lamps (+ 1 Average Lamp). Typically with their artist publications they present unique multiples and feature a series of bookshelves. This year I really look forward to seeing “Soft Wave Bookshelf” by Gabriel Kuri.
Their 2012 publication Interiors with CCS Bard from the CCS Readers series is stunning, and beautifully compiled by Johanna Burton, Lynne Cooke and Josiah McElheny. A weaving of stories, lectures, and essays range from Anni Albers, Doug Ashford and Angelo Bellfatto, Roni Horn, Helen Molesworth, and Virginia Woolf, to name just a few. You can read it cover to cover or jump around for entirely different viewpoints. On Sunday, September 22 from 1 – 2 pm, Sternberg has organized a conversation with Barry Schwabsky (author of Words for Art) and Howard Singerman. Sternberg is based in Berlin and New York.
If you’re not familiar, dedicate some significant time on their website; the site design, podcasts, and articles are impressive. Throughout the year they plan events, talks, and panels. Anthologies of their projects are available at the fair. The New York-based organization has also worked with some great artists on multiples including: B. Wurtz, Rachel Harrison, R.H. Quaytman, and Matt Mullican.
Brooklyn based Blonde Art Books just returned from a summer tour through DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Columbus, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. All of their artist books are custom made by hand. While they are presenting new publications by John Houck, Diana Artus, and Night Gallery at Schema Projects in Bushwick, at PS1 they have organized a reading with Mellow Pages Library. The reading will be led by former residents of the Pittsburgh based Cyberpunk Apocalypse, Cody Pickrodt and Andy Folk with the project’s founder, Daniel Patrick McCloskey and friend of the Apocalypse, Jarrod Shanahan. Their first publication: KITSCH ENCYCLOPEDIA: A book project by Sara Cwynar, is currently on Kickstarter.
Some other Brooklyn/New York based publications include: Gypsé Eyes (with their provocative new issue The Outlaws), Tauba Auerbach + Dan Walsh (and their 4 publications made with $400), Horses Think Press, Picturebox (with Carroll Dunham’s Thought Process), and Hassla (who are featuring new books by Ryan Foerster and Dan McCarthy).
Meaghan Kent is the Director and Chief Curator of site95. Kent was a gallery director for the past ten years and has worked at Casey Kaplan, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and I-20, managing the careers of internationally emerging and established artists and coordinating exhibitions locally and worldwide. Prior to her move to New York, Kent completed her MA in art history at George Washington University, Washington, DC and her BA at the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2012, she participated in the ICI Curatorial Intensive in New York. Kent has written and curated independently, most recently contributing to Art in America online. Recent curated exhibitions include: “City Limits: John James Anderson” at Locust Projects, Miami, “Trombly Rodriguez: The Fabric of a Space” at the Abrons Arts Center, New York, and the annual multi-venue project “Dead in August” in New York. Her upcoming exhibition “Urban Interactions” will open at the Hillyer Art Space, Washington DC on October 4.