LA Art Book Fair

Experiencing the LA Art Book Fair

Now that February has approached, I know that it’s on the horizon—a weekend-long event that provides proof for book enthusiasts in desperation: print is not dead.

The LA Art Book Fair (LAABF) has been exhibiting the diverse world of print to Los Angeles and sharing the coolness of bookmaking (from traditional to experimental forms) since its inception as the NY Art Book Fair in 2005.

I feel lucky to have sat behind the tablecloth as the Hammer’s face for last three years. Typically, I wait for the right moment to go out onto the floor. By this time, I’ll have already forgotten all of the tips for surviving the sea of small press distros, rare collectors, and overseas bookshops flooding my path.

Attending LAABF is overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and be social. It can be difficult; there will be a lot of steez. But, especially this year, it will be a place where people support each other! “Community unity” is what the cashier at Ike’s subs called it.

Beyond books, you’ll likely see artist editions, pins, totes, etc. These items are just as important to the LAABF, even if they don’t fit a purist’s standards. If you buy a Billy’s Book Barn baseball cap, you’ll be able to spend a few extra dollars to keep your favorite table in business after their pockets have been emptied from travel and rush print jobs. Save a little from your paycheck today, and invest in an edition that will be part of your own priceless collection in the future.

There is something truly special that happens to me each year—and I’m certainly not the only one to feel it. It’s the connection that happens when I find someone from a prior year. And the spark of interest in something I’ve never seen before. And the overwhelming satisfaction of spotting a rare, out of print, nobody-has-it-but-libraries, didn’t-know-there-was-an-English-translation book that I had only dreamed of beyond the reaches of my Amazon wish list.

If you are reading this, I’m thinking that I probably don’t need to convince you to attend LAABF. But maybe you read this to convince your brother to come with you. I hope it helps…

I can’t wait to meet you there with your brother and your grandma and your 8-page mini zine. ^_____^

Printed Matter presents the fifth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 23–26, 2017, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Filed under: 
Tags: hammer store