Although I skipped it in 2016, in September 2015 I attended the renowned NY Art Book Fair at MOMA PS1 in Long Island City, NY. The annual fair is organized by Printed Matter, Inc. which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the distribution of artists’ books. I lived in New York City for many years but navigating big crowds has never been my favorite activity. Knowing that the 2014 NY Art Book Fair attracted over 35,000 people over two days, I braved it nonetheless with a friend who had recently broken her arm, which was in a sling—she being the braver of us two.
Trepidation, claustrophobia, and thoughts of fire hazards (I trusted the NYFD on that) were forgotten once I entered the show, first by way of outdoor tents that contained the ‘zine world, a no-rules creative tribe of artists-designers-writers making one-off publications. The subway-at-rush-hour body situation didn’t matter to me as I took in explosions of visual humor, commentary, and fun. The fair’s path continued to the old PS 1 school building, which was converted into artists’ exhibition spaces in 1971 and is now an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. It was very hot with sweating people squirming by each other into room after room of tabled books about art, but I was absorbed in the riot of ink on paper. When we finally emerged from that anthill, I realized it was the ‘zine tent that impressed me the most and I went back into the maze. I’m thinking of returning for more this September.