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For the Love of Printed Matter: The L.A. Art Book Fair
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For the Love of Printed Matter: The L.A. Art Book Fair

Picture of Anahit Poturyan
Updated: 24 April 2017
Food trucks lined up end-to-end, and a stage for musical performers was set up in a Little Tokyo courtyard for a massive art fair with an L.A. flavor. Artists and art enthusiasts came together from 21 countries around the world to exhibit their (new, limited, and/or rare) art books and zines at Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair (Jan 30- Feb 1, 2015) at the capacious Geffen Contemporary in downtown Los Angeles. We review the best booths and exhibitions from the fair.
L.A. Art Book Fair. Photo by Evan Moffitt
Cali Thornhill-Dewitt’s mural at the L.A. Art Book Fair. | © Photo by Evan Moffitt

Best Booths

Gagosian Gallery

Surrounded by mason jars filled with flowers and weeds set on a wooden picnic table, Mina Stone stirred a large cooking pot while visitors curiously looked on. Stone debuted her cookbook, Cooking with Artists, designed by Swiss artist Urs Fisher, while handing out samples of food. Stone and Fisher created an inviting space by mixing rustic vibes and art and food in one space, while conversing with intrigued visitors.

Girlfriends

Israeli-born, Toronto-based photographer Dafy Hagai brought her curatorial venture, titled Girlfriends, featuring many self-publishing female photographers from around the world. Hagai promotes female autonomy and artistry with her project while compiling a beautiful photography collection.

L.A. Art Book Fair. © Photo by Evan Moffitt
Booths at the L.A. Art Book Fair. | © Photo by Evan Moffitt

Siglio Press

Siglio Press produces a unique blend of art books focusing on the convergence of (mostly unknown) literature and art. Favorite purchases were Sophie Calle’s Suite Veñitienne, Richard Kraft’s Here Comes Kitty, and Dorothy Iannone’s You Who Read Me With Passion. The major draw to this booth was the Dorothy Iannone exhibition organized by Printed Matter.

Ugly Duckling Presse

Ugly Duckling Presse is a reputable, small nonprofit publisher of poetry, books, experimental nonfiction, and translation based in Brooklyn, New York. During the exhibition, the third volume of Emergency Index: An Annual Document of Performance Practice, described by performance artist Martha Wilson as “a bible of performance art activity”. Live performances by local artists – Angela Washko, Am Schmidt, Steve Chodoriwsky, Neha Choksi, and GWC Investigators – supplemented the release of this new volume with reinterpretations of past performances.

L.A. Art Book Fair. Image by Evan Moffitt
Booths at the L.A. Art Book Fair

Gratuitous Type

Many fairgoers got their hands on Gratuitous Type’s fourth Issue, with its orange polka-dotted, silkscreened acetate print overlaying a light green cover. The “pamphlet of typographic smut” produced by Elana Schlenker did not disappoint, and the booth was popular with many visitors. Thoughtful conversations with design artists across the world and a variety of print media are featured in this 60 page booklet, featuring the work of graphic designer Claire Huss, Design Director of the Walker Art Center Emmett Byrne, and many others.

Headmaster

A Rhode Island-based art magazine, Headmaster is “a biannual art magazine for man-lovers”. This quirky and playful magazine focuses on serious conversations with exceptional writing around “man-loving” artists. This exciting booth appeared to be a crowd favorite with many visitors who enjoyed the magazine and company at the booth.

L.A. Art Book Fair. Image by Evan Moffitt
Dorothy Iannone exhibition organized by Printed Matter.

Best Exhibitions

Dorothy Iannone Exhibition

Printed Matter presented an exhibition highlighting bold and taboo-bending female artist Dorothy Iannone. Siglio Press; Peres Projects; and Air de Paris contributed to this exhibition. Risque subject matter and beautiful expressive colors from Iannone’s books were showcased in the glass vitrines, many of which have been reprinted in You Who Read Me With Passion Now by Siglio Press. Peres Projects; and Air de Paris also contributed to this exhibition.

Werkplaats Typographie

Art students from the ArtEZ Institute in Arnhem, Netherlands exhibited a fun installation exploring the interactive relationship between space and audience. They were easily recognizable in black and white polka-dotted plastic shirts, purposefully matching their polka-dotted installation.

Overall, the three days were packed with numerous events, as Angelinos navigated a labyrinth of densely packed aisles full of book signings, performances, panel discussions, speeches, workshops, conversations, and readings. The 2015 LA Art Book Fair was an adventurous, fun,eye-opening, and easily accessible event for anyone showing interest in print publishing or the arts, both locally and around the world.