Pro-Tips for the New York Art Book Fair

Hyped about book culture and contemporary art? Attend the annual NY Art Book Fair at MoMa PS1 in Long Island City, Queens this weekend (September 19-22). NYABF will undoubtedly put your elementary school book fairs to shame. After all, the remarkable profusion of print media is sure to whet any liberal arts students’ taste buds. Plus, there’s beer.

Indulge in precarious piles of paper matter, from zines to photo books, self-published books to the phantasmagoria in between. Mill about thousands of artists, independent publishers, curators, antiquarians and book buying nerds. An enlivening bazaar, the fair will feature almost three hundred international presses, publishers and booksellers from over twenty countries.

Photo Credit:, Aperture Foundation (2011)

Photo Credit:, Aperture Foundation (2011)

Three Do’s and a Don’t

Do: Bring a big empty tote bag. You’re going to want to have something to carry all your purchases and freebies in.

Do: Bring your friends, or a date! It’ll be a fun place to socialize, and MoMa PS1 is a sweet spot for romance and meeting new people (i.e. lovers).

Do: Visit on Sunday if possible. Often, international publishers will discount their stock near the close of the fair. It’s smarter for them to sell what they have at a lower price than pay the cost of international shipping.

Don’t: Carry a lot of anything else. It’s going to be a long day, spent in a crowded setting, not to mention with hot and smelly people and messy and beautiful paper…you’re going to wish you left everything at home.

Photo Credit:, Kodoji Press (2011)

Photo Credit:, Kodoji Press (2011)

Different activities will take place every hour, including artist-workshops, book signings, readings and discussions. NYABF will also feature four exhibitions, music performances, screenings, curated acts and dynamic experiments. Some interesting activities include multi-instrumental composers, a greenhouse, DJ’s, a book motel (think Ikea meets Burning Man), and a closing party on Sunday at Santos Party House.

Photo Credit:, Printed Matter (2010)

Photo Credit:, Printed Matter (2010)

Go smell the paper, check out genius touches of books like colored thread stitching, and embrace your love for artist books. Stumble upon subcultures and genres, new ideas and big visualizations, and be inspired. Best of all, it’s a free event open to the public. Unpretentious and prestigious, the annual NYABF is sure to be an exciting weekend event for book camaraderie.

Photo Credit:, "Artists Photography Books" exhibition (2011)

Photo Credit:, “Artists Photography Books” exhibition (2011)

MoMa PS1: 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY

Visit for list of exhibitors and the  events & activities schedule. NYABF is presented by Printed Matter, non-profit organization started in 1976, dedicated to artist-made publications and holding one of the largest, if not the largest, collection of limited edition publications in the world. Thank you to Sarah Goldberg from Aperture Foundation for the inside information!

Plus, don’t forget about the Sarah Lawrence Zine Fair on Saturday, September 28th on the North Lawn. See the event here.

Kaitlyn is a senior, studying languages, philosophy and art/architectural theory. Currently making artist books.


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