Following the Death of Its Curator, the LA Art Book Fair Has Canceled Its 2018 Edition

The beloved event has vowed to return in 2019.

Courtesy LA Art Book Fair.
Courtesy LA Art Book Fair.

The LA Art Book Fair will suspend operations next year following the death of its curator Shannon Michael Cane. Printed Matter, the bookstore that organizes the beloved event in Los Angeles and New York, has vowed to resume the LA fair in 2019. Cane—who died in November at age 43—led the West Coast event since its inception.

Another factor in the cancellation was scheduling: Printed Matter says it was unable to arrange a time slot with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, which has hosted the fair at its Geffen Contemporary satellite every year since it began in 2013. The LA fair typically took place sometime between late January and early March.

“We’re determined to return to LA,” executive director Max Schumann told artnet News. But “to rebuild a production team from scratch, secure a venue, and stage the fair in a new venue in the wake of the loss of our friend Michael Shannon Cane was a daunting challenge.”

Exhibitors for 2018 had not yet been chosen, though there are typically many repeat exhibitors, Schumann said. All previous exhibitors were were notified before today’s public announcement.

Courtesy LA Art Book Fair.

Courtesy LA Art Book Fair.

Sarah Stifler, MOCA’s chief communications officer, said the venue was unable to accommodate the book fair this year due to commitments to other exhibitions. Adrián Villar Rojas’s current show was extended through May and will require a prolonged period for de-installation. Meanwhile, Laura Owens‘s solo exhibition opens at the Geffen in November after it ends its run at the Whitney Museum in New York.

“We are huge fans” of the book fair, Stifler said, “and we wish that we could figure something out in terms of scheduling.”

The New York and LA Art Book Fairs are incredibly popular fixtures on the cultural calendar. Last year, the Los Angeles edition hosted more than 300 international presses, booksellers, and artists and drew more than 38,000 visitors during its three-and-a-half-day run. The New York edition takes place in September at MoMA PS1 in Queens.

Cane was widely regarded as an important force behind the popularization of art book fairs. “The normal boring power structure of the art world was turned upside down at [Cane’s] book fairs, and this we should all be grateful for,” artist Wade Guyton told the New York Times when he died. “Hopefully, that spirit will continue in his absence.”


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