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The 2014 New York Art Book Fair Brought Thousands of Recluses Into the Daylight

There was some cool stuff and there was some lame stuff.

PS1's yearly NYABF (New York Art Book Fair) has swiftly become another one of the large annual art events that everyone has to go to or risk being struck down by a lethal dose of FOMO (fear of missing out). This year's installment was last weekend.

If you're not from New York, PS1 is an art museum in Queens that was repurposed from an old school. I think the geodesic dome in the courtyard makes it look like EPCOT. PS1 has played host to many good shows, but I usually think the building is the most interesting part of PS1.

Here is Edie Fake showing off one of his zines in the zine tent that exists off to the side of the courtyard. Edie makes many different things, but one of the best things are his tile-style mosaic portraits of buildings. 

This is Graham Kolbeins holding up a beach towel he helped produce through Massive. Massive is a company that he and Annie Ishii work at where they help make and distribute products featuring Japanese bear fetish porno comics, shirts, Fleshlights, and other cool stuff. You have probably seen the cool gay kids at shows wearing T-shirts with the art on it. Get stuff like this at their site

All of the LGBT zinesters were relegated to one end of the tent. Is that segregation or celebration? I can't really tell. Sometimes it's hard to know when labeling and organizing things in this way is positive or negative. If you were looking for gay interest stuff you could find it all at once in one row. 

I like the name and design sense of Dik Fagazine so, so, so much. 

I like that Punk Mince comes with press-on type. I used to use this to make fake IDs so I could buy cigarettes and see R-rated movies. The trick was that you would scratch off the year of your birth, put in one that said you were 18 and then spray it with a lot of hairspray. 

Matte is a photo magazine edited and published by VICE's own photo editor, Matt Leifheit. It's good, real good. It definitely doesn't blend in with every other photo zine. It's special and you can get it over here

This was a cool silkscreen poster by Alicia Nauta. Check out Alicia's Klassic Kool Shoppe

Aidan Koch was selling these pretty little handkerchiefs with her drawings silkscreened onto them. 

Mark Todd makes these amazing garbage zines of random pieces of paper bound together in odd fashions. I liked this. 

Adam Villacin is good at drawing black athletes who were popular in the early 90s. I think that maybe everyone is so into the early 90s these days because by the time the age of information got into full swing we no longer had a unified culture with commonly known celebrities. You can absorb or reject pretty much any information you want nowadays. It's sort of wistful. 

Heather Benjaimin has been going to RISD. I hope the schooling doesn't change how intense her work is. Heather mentioned that she had run into John Waters, whom she excitedly gave things to before he exclaimed, "A guy could get lost in here!" and took off. 

8-Ball Zines had their own little nook. These are the same guys who did the News Stand in a subway station.

Inside, Peter Sutherland was putting these stickers on the cover of zines. The sign on the table said "live stickering."

At this point I entered the NYABF proper. Some corny music performance was happening. People were having a little hang out. 

In many ways there's something anachronistic about a book fair. You make and look at books alone. Books are for people who like to have quiet times alone. A fair is for people who like crowds and overstimulation. Like every mass gathering that happens the point of the event is to have a big get together.

This was the political art book alley. It was a bummer. 

I liked these prints. 

The problem with a lot of the art books is that a lot of them seemed like the same book. A lot of the photo books had the same skinny female women nude or people gazing off into space. The design zines and books also seemed to run together. A lot of the product there just seemed like it was made because someone wanted to have made an art or design book. There wasn't necessarily a driving passion behind much of what I saw. If there was, it was the passion of boring people without ideas. When you see a museum full of books that are all OK to pretty good, they become a lot less special. 

Besides individuals selling their own wares and book publishers hocking their merch there were also a lot of galleries with a presence at NYABF. Boo Hooray Gallery had set up a room in which they displayed Lenny Kaye's collection of old sci-fi fanzines on boards leaning against the walls. Lenny Kaye played guitar in the Patti Smith Group, created the Nuggets compiliation records and used to make science fiction zines in the late 50s and early 60s. Boo Hooray had made a book collecting the cover art. 

These were the most important art books I saw the entire fair. You can read an article about them by the gallery's owner over here

The art and layout on the covers of these old zines had zero irony or preciousness. The people who made them made the covers because they had to package their sci fi literature into something and turned to people who were clearly self taught most of the time. 

Despite the crudeness of some elements of these covers there was a lot of real innovation in the design concepts. I saw dozens of layout and design ideas that had never occurred to me before and coming from people who probably never thought their work would be shown in a museum in any context. It made me extra annoyed at all the bad fake bootleg Bart Simpson shit I saw. 

I love this image so much and immediately appreciated the lines and colors and textures and use of text. This is greatness.

I picked up this old zine made by a former Disney employee who became disillusioned. The tagline describes it as a child-size medieval torture chamber. The insides are mostly collaged together news clippings of all the violent events that ever happened in the park. 

This is Sto, who runs Cinders Gallery. He looks so much like Goku with his hair like this. 

Reality Hackers appears to have been the greatest magazine that ever existed. I saw this in a glass case. 

Finally, here's my NYABF haul photo for those of you who are into that sort of thing.