Every year, BAXTER ST at CCNY hosts a zine and self-published book fair that give artists an opportunity to showcase work that doesn't usually get much in the way of distribution. It's a unique opportunity to flip through products that challenge and push the boundaries of traditional book-making. This year the fair is curated by artist Anouk Kruithof and will include special installations by Bob Civil, Curtis Hamilton, Devin Morris, and Peter Puklus. I got a chance to speak to Baxter St at CNNY Executive Director Libby Pratt and Board Director Michi Jigarjian as well as select curator, Anouk, about what to expect this weekend.
VICE: What was the impetus to creating this fair?
Libby Pratt and Michi Jigarjian: This is the sixth year of the Zine Fair and it's evolution has been really exciting to watch. The founder of the program is a close member of our community, artist and curator Lindsey Castillo. The original fair invited all our membership and community to participate by contributing and selling their zines and books. The response was overwhelming and caught on quickly!
Why do you think the book format is ideal for photographers?
It's a natural extension for many photographers to think about their work in a sequential book format. More and more the photograph is stretching beyond the traditional frame. The book format provides a platform for artists to expand their work beyond the gallery walls into an extended audience and dialogue.
What were you hoping to highlight in your selections?
Anouk Kruithof: The curation of the fair was inspired through an invitation tree. I invited self publishers that inspired me and then asked them to recommend a book. It was from those recommendations that I invited most of the publishers to this fair/event. This way the selection grew quite organically and I also was able to get some great discoveries.
Why and how long have you been working this way?
I work in various media, not only with book-making, although it is a huge element of my practice. I began making books in Art Academy in 1999, which I still have. The notion to "think" or "live" in bookmaking stuck with me, but this idea has expanded and I love to collaborate with others, including designers and publishers. I have only published two of the books myself and the rest with various international publishers. My tenth book is coming up in collaboration with editorial RM and half of the edition I will publish myself with stresspress.biz.
What are some highlights for you in the show?
To me, bringing together all these amazing books and their authors is the essence of the show, and so no, I don't have any highlights in particular. The importance of this event is for artists to share and exchange work, to see what one another is doing and engage the greater book-making community. I did however invite some artists to make site-specific works in the show (Bob Civil, Curtis Hamilton, Devin Morris, and Peter Puklus), so I guess you could see them as highlights because they transformed their book-making practice to the space.
Images from the installation and select zines below:
Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair will be open to the public June 11 and 12 at Baxter Street at The Camera Club of New York.
Anouk Kruithof is a Dutch artist based in New York. You can follow her work here.
Baxter Street at The Camera Club of New York is an artist run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. This program is supported by the Tierney Family Foundation.