Progressive & Unique: There are no barriers for creative outlets at the LA Art Book Fair

Held at the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Arts District/Little Tokyo for its consecutive third year. LAABF is a breath of fresh air to the quintessential stagnate art fair although some may be overwhelmed by its crassness this is what makes the fair differ from the rest. For most of us the art fair has become a necessity to attend for several valid reasons. International exposure for galleries and artists are now accessible to the masses and provide a steady stream of revenue while the numbers of “collector” grows.

      IMG_3073 It seems for the most part that winter is filled with a myriad of fairs in Miami, LA and NYC all sprouting off the heals of the massive Art Basel Miami Beach. A global gathering that was once for art patrons & enthusiasts has now become a glorified sponsored event (over) saturated with art. In January, Los Angeles has its own version of Art Basel, except for it is spread out throughout the course of the month making it something to look forward to and not as overwhelming. Kicking off “Art Month” is the LA Art Show followed by Photo LA a two-week break and then Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Paramount Ranch and the toddler of these, LA Art Book Fair. (One month off and then at it again in New York with Armory, Pulse etc…)

          For this Art Enthusiast (aka ME), The LAABF is one I really look forward to. This doesn’t mean I’m choosing one child over the other… perhaps its that I am still holding on to that new car scent. Maybe it’s that DIY vibe that resonates when I enter the lower level-filled with Zines, or the blend of vintage books & photographs in the main area. Could it be the glossy rare photo books I discover while perusing booths of the curiously unknown. Okay, so it’s all of the above. Now I may be biased considering I happen to curate books of photography and that I am a writer/photographer, so why wouldn’t I be in heaven with likeminded individuals?

              IMG_3059 Not to get all, Stephan, from SNL’s Weekend Update on you, BUT…If you loved the East Village in the 70s/80s then this fair is for you. It’s got everything…

                  Book signings, panels, performances, conferences that range in topics and panelists. Highlights included; Myopia by Mark Mothersbaugh, Stereo Sanctity by Thurston Moore (followed by a stage performance,) The Thing The Book with Miranda July, Mike Mills, Leslie Shows and Chris Johanson. Sex Archive Show N’ Tell. LA (and some non-LA) favorites included; Boo-Hooray, Giant Robot, DUM DUM Zine, Kill Your Idols/ Gingko Press, The Evolving/Devolving Definitions of Punk, DIY, Indie, and Self Publishing, Night Gallery, Oooga Booga, REDCAT, Girlfriends, Girls Like Us, PINUPS amongst so many.

                      In fairness I wont discount that some of the “things” that are displayed may not be ever lasting BUT in the moment THEY are cool little gems that represent a slew of artists with their own point of view. Ballsy, sometimes poorly made, I don’t care it is their courage and tenacity I seek to take in even if it does become clutter in 6 months or so. Regardless, the stimulation I receive from paper, the written word, retro images tact onto this prestigious museum’s walls, the scattered attendance, food trucks lined up and live performances disguise it as a glorified block party made for this art punk princess.

                          IMG_3072 Free and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers. Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York.