The New York Art Book Fair Returns Home to Chelsea

Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair (NYABF) is making a grand return to Chelsea this weekend after three years of operating virtually and over a decade of presenting at MoMA PS1 in Queens. Opening on Thursday night and running through Sunday, NYABF convenes small presses, rare booksellers, distributors, galleries, institutions, artists, and collectives to showcase their publications — this time at the fair’s original location, just around the corner from Printed Matter’s Chelsea bookstore. 

“Since the Fair’s founding in 2006, this community has come together to celebrate the history and future possibilities of artists’ book publishing,” Sonel Breslav, director of fairs and editions at Printed Matter, said in a statement. “Despite so many recent challenges, we have witnessed the resilience of artists and publishers. Today, the work happening in artists’ book publishing feels more urgent than ever and we are committed to bringing back the fair in a way that is meaningful and safe.”

NYABF kicks off Thursday evening, October 13, and continues through Sunday. (photo by Azikiwe Mohammed)

The fair will take over all four stories plus the rooftop of the 548 West 22nd Street location, where diverse publishers will be tabling their works. Between noon and 6pm on Saturday afternoon, NYABF will host a block party with food, live performances, music, a chess tournament, a “Taco Bell drawing club,” and readings. A slate of “Classroom” programs will foreground conversations with artists and publishers on topics such as starting and running artists’ magazines, the visibility of artist books, and Latin American photography

“Something really essential about this production is the fact that it’s in Chelsea, in such close proximity to the store. We’re really able to be present and near where we are all year round, and share the space with all the people who are exhibitors in the fair,” Breslav told Hyperallergic. Breslav also highlighted that NYABF’s exhibitor list this year is more international than prior iterations — something she says was a true feat given continuing obstacles to travel.

Precog, an independent, Brooklyn-based magazine focused on art, cyberculture, and feminism, will be tabling at this year’s fair with two international exhibitors, the experimental Mexico City editorial platform DiSonare and the nomadic publication Dolce Stil Criollo.

Precog co-founders Florencia Escudero, Kellie Konapelsky, and Gaby Collins-Fernandez told Hyperallergic that their print issue this year is about “trolls and trolling in all of its glory, from oppositionality to humor to gatekeeping to social activism.”

“Participating in the New York Art Book Fair is always a fun, connected experience, and especially this year, coming back in person after the pandemic,” they said. “We are excited to share our table with our good friends diSonare and Dolce Stil Criollo. We share an experimental attitude toward publishing and thinking about art, its interconnections, and how to make community.”

diSONARE, which will share a table with Precog, is an experimental editorial collective that is interested in the concept of dissonance. (courtesy the publisher)

Also new this year is the launch of the Volume Grant and a new Shannon Michael Cane Award. The Volume Grant is a funding opportunity for BIPOC artists and publishers with demonstrated need to receive a $1,000 stipend and a table at the fair at no cost. Recipients of the grant this year are Brown Recluse Zine Distro, a zine that spotlights the work of queer and trans people of color; Further Reading Press, a multi-platform publishing group; Kwago, a publishing lab based in the Philippines; and Taller California, a small press located in the San Diego-Tijuana area.

The Shannon Michael Cane Award recognizes emerging publishers who are showing at NYABF for the first time. These include Revista Balam, a photo book spotlighting contemporary Latin American photography based in Buenos Aires; KWY Ediciones, a Lima, Peru-based platform that publishes emerging and established Latin American writers and artists; Far Near, a publishing platform spotlighting cross-cultural perspectives on Asian art; and Matarile Ediciones, a publisher that centers immigration and diaspora.