Alec Soth, photographer and publisher, Little Mushroom. Photo Kate Seward.

September 23, 2013 @ MoMA PS1

The eighth annual NY Art Book Fair, held Sept. 19-22 at Long Island City's MoMA PS1, was a raucous three-day party celebrating the union of word and image. To call it a fair is, perhaps, slightly unfair: fairs are large, sprawling, and, most of all, wide open. The NY Art Book Fair was certainly sprawling, but wide-open? Not so much. More than anything, it felt like an overgrown cabinet of curiosities, where every nook and cranny was filled with something interesting, entertaining, or beautiful—or some combination thereof.

The fair, organized by Printed Matter and curated by Shannon Michael Cane, featured books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals and ‘zines from more than 280 booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers from more than 20 countries. The event kicked off on Thursday night with a live set by MASKS, the brainchild of the New York-based duo Alexis Georgopoulos and Max Ravitz, followed by some dub-inflected house by Terekke (Matt Gardner).

Turnout was impressive—the best of any iteration of the fair, according to Printed Matter. Circulation may have been difficult on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday the place was choked with people clutching posters, books, and, of course, glasses of beer and wine. There were performances by Ben Greenberg of Hubble, Dead Painters, and multi-instrumentalist and composer Greg Fox (formerly of Liturgy). There were book signings, workshops, conversations and lectures by Alec Soth, Erik Kessels and Linda Simpson. There was food from M. Wells (ham and cheese croissants with miso mayonnaise, frisee with eggs and lardons, and chocolate brownies the size of a baby's fist and the richness of a Giotto fresco). The only thing missing was a nap room. Perhaps that can be incorporated next year.