This weekend galleries, zines, publishing houses and rare book dealers are getting together at London’s Whitechapel Gallery for the UK’s biggest annual celebration of international art publishing, taking place concurrently with the New York Art Book Fair. Three solid days of events ensue, including book signings by Bridget Riley, Nadav Kander and Douglas Coupland (who is launching new publication everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything at the fair, too) and events such as Unbinding the Book challenge the tradition concept of publishing altogether.
Essentially the gallery turns into a giant melting pot for art book lovers to geek out over the newest, oldest and rarest publications, so we went down last night to schmooz around the opening and to bring back some best bits to make your hunt that much easier.
Not only is artist, publisher and curator AA Bronson one of the three members of the artist trio General Idea, but he also founded the NY Art Book Fair, so it’s kind of a big deal that he’s spending the book fair weekend on our side of the Atlantic. He’s giving a talk this afternoon about his life and work, “drawing on the history of publishing as a democratic medium and the current explosion of independent publishing.”
Four Corners Books
The brilliant chaps over at Four Corners Books made an appearance selling their wares, including a huge copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Zoe Whitley’s The Graphic World of Paul Peter Piech. Get a look at some of the publications they have for sale over here.
It’s not every week you get the opportunity to see a Turner Prize-winning artist play a set in the middle of one of London’s foremost galleries, but what’s the Art Book fair for if not creating these sporadic moments? Martin Creed regaled visitors to the fair with a performance of hilarious songs including masterpiece Thinking/Not Thinking – “I was thinking, and then I wasn’t thinking, and then I was thinking…” – and playing two full encores before insisting “but I don’t know any more songs!” You can’t argue with that, really.
Rose Issa Projects
Curator, writer and producer Rose Issa has been championing visual art and film from the Middle East for over 30 years, and Rose Issa Projects is the wonderfully tangible product of her passion. The LABF stall is laden with treasures so colourful we were drawn to them like magpies. We were not disappointed. Especially magnetic is Photography, Fashion, Film, Design edited by Katia Hadidian, which contains some fascinating-looking essays by senior curators and photo editors from all the world.
Generation X, Girlfriend in a Coma and Worst. Person. Ever. author Douglas Coupland has been writing for over 20 years, redefining the postmodern condition repeatedly, so it’s frankly incredible that he’s managed to get this fair without completing an artist monograph. Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Eveything does the job, though, blending high and low culture in a fascinating and comprehensive overview of the artist, design and author’s work.