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All the Weird, Silly, and Fun Things at the NY Art Book Fair

The New York Art Book Fair took place last weekend at MOMA PS1, an art museum in Long Island City built into what was once a public school.
Nick Gazin
Κείμενο Nick Gazin

The NY Art Book Fair, or NYABF for short, was last weekend. I was there with my camera taking photos and collecting things to review for my VICE column. It took place at MOMA PS1, an art museum in Long Island City built into what was once a public school and has had minimal renovations so that it still looks and feels like a school.

The venue gave me alot of unsettling feelings. The first being back-to-school fever, which is a term I first heard my friend Celia use to describe a feeling that comes after you’ve started your career and fall weather makes you miss returning to school or having a fresh beginning with new friends and new classes. I hated school, but fall even affects me this way. I wish I’d been a better student, but I am pretty certain that if I retook all of my schooling as a 30-year-old from middle school on that I'd do just as badly as I did when I was 12.


The book fair also reminds me of the last time I saw Terence O’Connor who died the weekend after last year's NYABF. I walked around the rooms where I had seen him and wished I could go back in time some more.

Besides all my mopey bullshit NYABF was very nice and filled with plenty talented folks and some corny folks.

This is Jonny Negron, who I ran into outside. I admire Jonny very much. He's a great artist and a contributor to VICE’s comics section. Jonny draws thick women and is very handsome.

This is Michael Deforge with his fiancée, Leslie Stein. They are both great cartoonists, artists, and people who have contributed comics to VICE. Isn't it great when two nice people don’t settle for shitheads?

These are two stylish men. The thing about fairs, festivals, and conventions is that, although they are usually based around a shared interest, the real reason for going is to socialize. It’s like a big human dog-run.

This is Gavin and his boss, Julie, who both run the PS1 book store. She put on a look of mock enthusiasm to hide how stressed out she was by the hordes of book lookers fingering her stock of print. Gavin looks like a big cat man to me.

Upon entering PS1’s courtyard, you'll see this giant dome. Under the dome is a bunch of dull stuff, and it's not as interesting as just looking at a big giant white dome from the outside.

Outside the dome, some desperate folk will try to vie for your attention. I thought nothing was worse than the sensation of sitting at a table, attempting to sell your own products. I’ve tried it before and it sucks. Watching people walk by, pick up your things, and put them back down is a bummer if you’re not a star. This definitely trumps being at a table though, because these women turned themselves into convention tables.


To the right of the courtyard was a big, giant, overly warm tent full of people selling zines. Most of the interesting and affordable items were inside this big, tented book-ghetto. The zines above were made by Heather Benjamin who is one of the best people doing it in the realm of zine making, illustration, and design. Her works seem hyper-sexual and it deals with body issues like shame and pride.

Here is a shirt she made. While I was talking to her, one of her customers kept asking her to explain the context to them. “So is this supposed to be you?” and “What made her want to cut her guts out?” Eventually I told them that art is like a heightened form of life and that single composition images like this don’t necessarily have a narrative context; they are just expressions of intense feeling without logic or a background story.

This is Sto who runs Cinders Gallery. He's holding up a spread from a zine he was selling called Next Level Is The Next Level.

This is Marc Bell who made comics for VICE for years. He's holding up a new zine of his called Cowabunga Schnauzer. He is your classic Canadian nice guy but also a genius.

Here is Matt Thurber eating his new comic, New England, which is about Kanye West. He kept calling him just “Kanye,” which he felt was acceptable because he had made a comic about him.

This is Caleb who runs the record label, Sacred Bones. I convinced him to buy Mar Bell’s classic book, Shrimpy and Paul. This book is, and was, one of the greatest comics I’ve ever read. It became as important to me and my best friends as The Simpsons, another thing we quote nonstop.


The guy who makes the Retard Riot zines made and sold this awesome shirt.

The Dream Team is a zine comprised of little pointilist portraits of the Olympic Dream Team along with funny facts about the players. Did you hear that Michael Jordan told Chamillionaire that “he doesn’t take photos with no niggas?” That’s fucking nuts. World’s Fair made a rap song about it.

Earlier in the day my friend Lala had told me I was a misogynist. I figured that if I’m a misogynist I might as well lean into it instead of avoiding it. So I strangled this bitch. Just kidding, this is my friend Nicole Reber who was selling her zines.

Here is Nicole and her friend, the uber handsome and talented Anthony Cudahy showing off their work. Together, they put out a drawing zine called Packet which accepts submissions.

This girl looks incredible, like Wednesday Addams if she wasn’t Christina Ricci at all.

Here are three men with beards. The middle one is named Wizard Skull. I don't know the other two.

I like how wholesome this lady looks next to this shock humor zine by Wizard Skull.

Three bears displaying Pin Ups magazine! There was a good amount of  dignified gay fetish art and they were also were selling a zine of beautifully done, pencil-rendered portraits of Seth Rogen nude. I love bear culture because if you don’t want to hug these guys right now you're probably an asshole.

This is Elona Jones, my friend and comics enthusiast, showing off her finds.


Inside the actual museum building, someone taped this photo of an unattractive man above the waterfountain. I guess when people drink from the waterfountain it sort of looks like they are sucking his dick. Maybe that wasn’t the intention. Either way I enjoyed it.

You can look over a precipice and see people looking at books. One time they filled this space with yarn, and I lost my phone in it.

Frank Santoro is a cartoonist and comics critic, and Dan Nadel is a comics critic and book publisher. One time Dan kicked me out of his class at SVA for eating a burger. We've been friends ever since.

This is a $5 silkscreened zine by Anya Davidson. Frank bought it for me! What a guy! They could have sold these for like 50 bucks, but punk ideals led Anya to want to make her work both special and affordable. She's incredible. Get her books from Picturebox.

This is a zine of just screencaps of books that have appeared in The Simpsons, real or fictional.

Inside it looks like this.

It wouldn’t be an art event without people who are dressed in clothes appropriately outfitted for cartoon rabbits.

M. Wells is this great restaurant that became PS1’s cafeteria a year or two ago. It’s so great. Everything they do is great. Last year they were being protested for serving horse meat. Who gives a fuck about horses? I hate horses. They are the dumbest, meanest animals. Fuck them. I like M. Wells just because they helped extinguish the horse problem.


This lady wearing an electric dress approached me nervously to tell me she was a big fan, and then gave me this great zine of drawings she’d made called Celebrity Facial. I’m a big fan of you, too, lady.

I saw neat little grafitti in the stairwell. Is this the same guy who did the hummingbirds and folding chairs years ago? Who is that guy!? Best guy in graffiti besides Rotgut, Reas, Espo, and Banksy.

This is Venus X. I met her about four or five years ago at her GHE20G0TH1K party, and now she's on a magazine cover that she signed for people.

This art looks like shit.

Great. More text-based art. We take something trivial and give it to like a blanket-weaver or a neon-sign maker and then it’s art I guess. Fuck this laziness.

On the top floor of the museum in a little room I found my friends from Boo Hooray, a great gallery. They also publish books under their own company called Sinecure as well as editing books for other companies like Rizzolli.

It had been a long day at the art fair so I went home with my totebag full of books and my camera’s SD card full of photos.

“Bye Now!” says the labor-intensive drawing that Heather Benjamin did in my sketchbook.

More printed matter on VICE:

Lele Saveri Is Selling Zines in a Subway Station

Pizza Weather

Comic Book Love-In #94