10 Things to Do and See at the New York Art Book Fair

Better start making space on your bookshelf now.

Marcel Dzama, still from Death Disco Dance.
Photo: Courtesy MoMA PS1.

Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair, which will take place from September 17–20 at MoMA PS1, is without question one of the hippest art events on the fall calendar. It’s even been called “the art world’s Coachella,” but don’t worry, you don’t have to wear a crop top to fit in.

You will, however, probably spot a lot of “tote brags” (from the likes of NADA, a downtown gallery, or any far-flung biennial). But hey, where else is one supposed to store their stack of just-purchased reading material from book stores and distributors around the world?

In addition to a mind-boggling selection of books, zines, and other cool paper-based items, the four-day event boasts an array of exhibitions, panels, signings, and performances that are sure to make your journey to Long Island City worth it. And if you feel like making a day out of it, on Saturday afternoon, SculptureCenter will be hosting an opening reception for their new exhibitions by Anthea Hamilton and Gabriel Sierra from 6–8 p.m.

Did we just plan your whole weekend for you?

Here’s what to see while at the fair below.

1. Opening night performances by DROOID5$Z and Bookworms:
While last year’s opening night featured a performance by the inimitable ex-Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore, this year’s is a bit more low key with two local bands, Bookworms and DROOID5$Z, jamming on the steps of the museum during sunset. Expect a packed house for these ticketed preview night shenanigans.
Preview on Thursday featuring DROOID5$Z and Bookworms. September 17, 6-9 p.m.

2. Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Rare and Pre-Signed Books and Book Signings:
MoMA PS1’s permanent bookstore will feature a selection of pre-signed books and monographs, including those by Ken Schles, Dennis Feldman, Taryn Simon, and Alex Katz, as well as a selection of rare and out-of-print titles from the vault. On Saturday afternoon, artists Takeshi Murata and Erik van der Weijde (who produced a custom installation for the store window) will do on-site book signings.
Artbook will be open from September 17–20. More information on specific events is available here

The cover of Foundations magazine. Photo: Courtesy Foundations.

The cover of Foundations magazine.
Photo: Courtesy Foundations.

3. Foundations Magazine Launch:
You may remember Foundations from their recent profile of Lisa Frank, but the third issue of the biannual mag officially drops at the fair with a signing by venerable cover star Florine Mark on Saturday evening. (Mark is the grandmother of guest editor and artist Carly Mark.) The issue features artists Jamian Juliano-Villani, Elaine Sturtevant, and Katie McCurdy, with contributions by Bridget Donahue, Sebastian Gladstone, and others.
Foundations magazine launch and signing, September 20, 8–9 p.m. 

Photo: Paper Rad.

Photo: Paper Rad.

4. PPP—The Zines of Paper Rad by Printed Matter
As the organizer of the event, Printed Matter has to maintain their reputation as the coolest kids on the block. This year, they are presenting a stockpile of zines and other ephemera from artist trio Paper Rad, curated by collector Paul Bright, in celebration of the release of the book PPP—The Zines of Paper Rad. While the collective is best known for their popular website, they have produced hundreds of handmade books, stencils, posters, and more throughout their 12 years of working together, much of which has never been publicly displayed. Expect fluorescent colors, psychedelia, and a distinctly low-fi sensibility.
Paper Rad will be on display from September 17–20.

5. Rob Pruitt’s eBay Flea Market: Year 1 Book Signing at Bruno
If you attended the Brant Foundation’s most recent opening party or simply follow Rob Pruitt on Instagram, you’re probably familiar with the concept behind the artist’s ongoing “eBay Flea Market” project. Pruitt will be on hand at the booth of Italian bookseller Bruno to sign a book chronicling “one year in the life of Rob Pruitt through the quotidian objects that the artist once loved, consumed, then felt he didn’t need anymore.” Will his J Brand jeans be up for grabs?
Rob Pruitt’s eBay Flea Market: Year 1 signing will take place on September 18 at 3 p.m. 

6. Xe(rox) & Paper + Scissors, and the Small Press Dome
If you’re looking to make a purchase but your wallet is a bit thin, head to this area of the fair, where innovative zinesters, artists, and small presses will be selling their wares. They won’t be pricey, but they are sure to be unique representations of modern publishing at its most innovative.
Xe(rox) & Paper + Scissors, and the Small Press Dome will be open from September 17–20.

Photo: Facebook/Matthew Scott Gualco.

Photo: Facebook/Matthew Scott Gualco.

7. Matthew Scott Gualco Tote Bags at Frenemies III
Remember when we mentioned the importance of cool tote bags? Well, if you have yet to acquire one of your own, stop by the Frenemies III booth on Thursday and pick up a limited edition of 75 “Bitches Love Totes” bags by Matthew Scott Gualco. For just $20, you can simultaneously mock and participate in hipster culture. Gualco and “frenemy” Paul Shortt will also be selling an array of other prints and art objects throughout the weekend.
The Frenemies III booth will be open from September 17–20.

8. Hal Fischer’s Gay Semiotics Presentation and Signing
Last year, Cherry and Martin re-released Hal Fischer’s seminal 1977 text Gay Semiotics, one of the first works to bring the language of structuralism and linguistics into the photo world through the complex codes of sexual orientation and identification Fischer observed in ’70s San Francisco. The presentation will include a reissue of the author’s landmark portfolio, never-before-seen ephemera, and a new edition of the text. Fischer will sign copies at the booth on Saturday afternoon.
Hal Fischer’s Gay Semiotics book signing will take place on September 19 at 2 p.m.

Marcel Dzama, still from Death Disco Dance.

Marcel Dzama, still from Death Disco Dance.

9. “Death Disco Dance” Performance
The David Zwirner Books booth will have 250 limited edition copies of the first issue of artist Marcel Dzama‘s new zine, “Death Disco,” which features collages, etchings, and film stills.  In celebration, the Duplex Project Room will play host to a series of performances reenacting choreography from Dzama’s stirring short film Death Disco Dance.
Death Disco Dance will be performed on September 17 at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on September 18 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

10. NYABF15 Closing Party at the Good Room
If you have the kind of schedule where Monday mornings aren’t a “thing,” swing by Greenpoint hotspot the Good Room from 9 p.m. to late for the fair’s official closing party. All proceeds go to fund Printed Matter’s move to its new location on 231 11th Avenue in Chelsea.
The NYABF15 closing party at The Good Room, September 20, 9 p.m.

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