The L.A. Art Book Fair drew tens of thousands of visitors to more than 250 exhibitor booths wedged into the Museum of Contemporary Art over the weekend. It was a phantasmagoria of bright, hand-made books, limited-edition prints, out-of-print catalogues, bizarre stickers and handmade zines.
All I remember is walking in with a couple of hundred dollars in cash and walking out two hours later with an empty wallet and a bag full of merch.
The best in show? The Guerrilla Girls paper bag mask I acquired for a very reasonable $10.
For more than 30 years, these anonymous artist-activists — who show up at art world events decked out in gorilla masks — have been agitating for greater equity for women in the arts. (There's a history of how they got started, along with images of their early works, on their website.)
Needless to say, these questions haven't gone away — as L.A. artist Micol Hebron has recorded in her "Gallery Tally" project, in which she maintains an artful record of gender imbalances in commercial galleries around the world.
All of this makes the presence of the Guerrilla Girls (and my new mask) quite timely. In fact, they are currently the subject of a solo exhibition at Pomona College Museum of Art. And this Thursday night, they are putting on a special performance.
In the meantime, find a slideshow of some of the other goodies that lightened my checking account during my time at the Fair.