Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea: NY Art Book Fair / Kate Castelli

The wonderful graphic designer & illustrator Kate Castelli visited us this weekend-- what a treat to explore The NY Art Book Fair at MOMA/PS 1 with her.

(For more on Kate, see the Lobster & Canary interview August 1, 2010, and her website

In only its fifth year, the NY Art Book Fair, organized by Printed Matter, Inc., has become a "must see" on the fall arts circuit. The show was utterly packed on Saturday afternoon, standing room only in some places...

...for good reason, as c. 300 exhibitors treated us to a riot of interstitial, interdisciplinary, innovative, beautiful, bizarre, and sometimes just plain "huh?"-inducing books, journals, (maga)zines, broadsides, posters, prints, text/object mash-ups, and other less definable items.

Kate, the lobster, and the canary left delightfully overwhelmed. A few notes from a pile of impressions:

The Center for Book Arts (NYC), for their poetry chapbook collaborations (co-curated by Sharon Dolin, who we interviewed here March 13 & May 22, 2010).

Studio on the Square Book Arts Collective (NYC), for crisp composition and stand-out craftsmanship. (The small book entitled "Sacred Tables" glowed with a Klee-like combination of formal gridwork and subtly leaping colors.) Plus, the Studio on the Square's Intima Press featured the "Goddard Declaration of Independence": "Many of the names associated with the Declaration of Independence-John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Samuel Chase-are household names. Another one-Mary Katherine Goddard-is probably not. But Goddard played a central role in this foundational American document-she printed it. At the time she was living in Baltimore and was in fact Baltimore’s Postmistress."

Artspeak (Vancouver) for intriguing dialogue between practitioners and critics. From their website: "Artspeak presents contemporary practices, innovative publications, bookworks, editions, talks and events that encourage a dialogue between visual art and writing."

The Department of Interdisciplinary Arts at Columbia College Chicago, for their Journal of Artists' Books.

Siglio Press for their exquisite productions, especially of work by Nancy Spero and by Denis Wood. From their website: "SIGLIO is a new, independent press in Los Angeles dedicated to publishing uncommon books that live at the intersections of art and literature. Siglio books defy categorization and ignite conversation: they are cross-disciplinary, hybrid works that subvert paradigms, reveal unexpected connections, rethink narrative forms, and thoroughly engage a reader's imagination and intellect."

Proteus Gowanus (NYC) for their boldness, their hints of melancholy and outright morbidity, and the sheer volume & variety of their output. As they put it, they "extend an interesting train of thought into print."

e-flux for international interconnections and clever use of the chalkboard. As they put it: "Established in January 1999 in New York, e-flux is an international network which reaches more than 50,000 visual art professionals on a daily basis through its website, e-mail list and special projects. Its news digest – e-flux announcements – distributes information on some of the world's most important contemporary art exhibitions, publications and symposia".

The Silas Finch Foundation (NYC) for arresting, make-you-think imagery. From their website: "We work collaboratively with artists to produce, publish and promote ambitious photographic projects. We also work to develop and support new platforms for the publication and distribution of photographic art in the 21st century."

De Appel (Amsterdam) for its public art projects. From their website: "Since 1975 it has functioned as a site for the research and presentation of contemporary visual art through exhibitions, publications and discursive events. De Appel also functions as a platform for performances by visual artists, choreographers and theatre makers. [...] It has a special thematic focus on 'context-responsive' curating and the presentator [sic] of art in the 'public sphere'."

And these worthies only head a long list of appealing presenters at the NY Art Book Fair in 2010.

1 comment:

Kate said...

A truly wonderful weekend. An overwhelming whirlwind of contemporary Book Arts. It was an intriguing, beguiling, and provoking selection. I felt like the proverbial kid in the candy shop!

Many thanks!