Saturday, November 27, 2010

NYC Artists Book Fair

Anticham and Francis of Redfox Press, Ginny, Sticker Dude aka Joel Cohen.

Here we are again with Mark Bloch (Panman) added to the crew.

Ginny and Francis with his silkscreens on the wall.

I love books! I have since I was a kid, before I could read I loved to look at books. I read anything and everything in the house. I came to believe I could learn to do anything if I could find something in print on the topic. I also believe you can become anything, as long as you can find the instruction manual.

 I have written a sizable number of instruction manuals for corporate clients and their employees/customers and developed training programs for the same. But I digress into a different "blog". I went up to NYC for this fair for several reasons. When I heard about it I knew I had to....see the books (what is happening now in artists books?), look for publisher leads for a planned artistamp book, meet Anticham and Francis, get to see their books first hand, and go tot he MOMA for a good modern art fix.

I was not disappointed. After getting my room squared away - unbelievably the hotel was sold out and did not have my reservation!! Adding to the stress of this, their internet access was down so I could not quickly find another. But that ended up with them putting me into a suite, reserved for this type of issue, the manager said. (Does this happen often?)

I spent my first afternoon at MOMA and dinner, then over to see Bill Wilson, the Ray Johnson and May Wilson art collector. Bill and I have only met in person once before but it is as though I've known him for years. Well I could have, since we grew up across the river from each other on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. A long way from international artists book art, mail art, FLUXUS, artistamps and more. It's a rural, small town Southern culture we're from and we share a few historical connections that is for another story. Southerners like to talk about family history when they get together.

Kitchen Fluxkit by George Maciunas
Yoko Ono Fluxus Score

Wonder photo of Potatoes Flying by (don't remember)

Bill and Ginny

Bill Wilson

The book fair was huge - 3 stories of a former school filled with books; their makers and publishers ready to answer questions and sell you copies. It took 2 days for me to take it all in. The crowd Saturday afternoon was so thick you could barely move. Nevertheless it was wonderful to see how much artists books as an art form has grown. I recall my first book fair in Frankfurt where artists books were the rarity put in one corner. No longer.

On the third floor I discovered the zines and alternative books. And to my surprise, several booths of artists from San Francisco. We had lots to talk about and I shared my own zine history with several of these folks. One requested an interview for the SFMOMA which I gladly granted. I met a couple zine artists who looked younger than my grown grandchildren. I laughed as they did a double-take when I admired their zine art while I told them I used to make zines. I guess their grandmother doesn't make zines? I also saw works by Ulises CarriĆ³n and a $1,000 artistamp sheet by General Idea for sale.

Mark and Ginny

Antic and Francis
The Redfox Press booth was very popular. The output by Francis and Anticham has both quality and consistency, enough for them to make a living and do their international travel for the fair circuit. The suit of books by both of them and the guest artists were wonderful to see spread out amongst two long tables. Joel Cohen (Sticker Dude) was on hand to sign books, and played the guitar for the crowd. See the books in the video below.

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