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Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair returns to the Geffen at MOCA with artist-made works

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Attendees of the 2017 Printed Matter Art Book Fair look a works created by small presses and artists.
(Rob MacInnis)

If you’re a book lover with a soft spot for visual art, you might want to plan a trip to the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA this weekend, where the 2019 LA Art Book Fair will be taking over the Little Tokyo museum.

The annual book fair, first held in Los Angeles in 2013, is a celebration of artists’ books produced by Printed Matter Inc., a 43-year-old nonprofit group offering resources to artists and helping them publish and distribute books showcasing their art.

Printed Matter’s executive director, Max Schumann, said the organization represents 12,000 titles by more than 6,000 artists worldwide.

“We have an open submissions program welcoming anyone to send us a sample of their artists’ book for consideration, and the titles we select are given full bibliographic entries in our web-based catalog, one of the largest artists’ book public databases in the world,” Schumann told The Times.

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The L.A. fair, directed by Printed Matter’s Sonel Breslav, is a companion event to the annual NY Art Book Fair, and attendance by almost 400 exhibitors from over 30 countries, including China, the Netherlands, South Korea and Britain, is expected.

California exhibitors scheduled to be at the fair include CalArts Graphic Design, Floss Editions, Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, Modern Women Projects, QUEENS LA and Semiotext(e).

The fair is also offering programs such as the Contemporary Artists’ Books Conference, scheduled for Saturday, and Montez Press Radio, billed as “an experiment in radio broadcasting which plays in the boundaries of conversation, performance, distribution, and access through the lens of contemporary art.”

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A program called Under the Sun will provide workshops and tours of the fair for children, teenagers and their families.

Schumann said Printed Matter appreciates the “warm and enthusiastic reception” the book fair has received in Los Angeles.

“While the NY Fair is always a wonderful experience, there’s a kind of freshness to the energy at the LA Fair that sets it apart,” he said.” There’s also a large West Coast representation at the LA Fair which is wonderful. It’s obviously easier and more affordable for artists who are L.A. residents to participate when the fair is on their coast, and we love that.”

The LA Art Book Fair is scheduled to kick off with an opening-night celebration on Thursday at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Tickets to that event, which come with a limited-edition work by Bay Area artist Jeffrey Cheung, are $20; the rest of the fair is free and open to the public.

Schumann said the Geffen at MOCA is a “wonderful venue” for the event.

“We are so grateful for MOCA’s collaboration in our effort,” he said. “The space is expansive and really allows for the breathing and elbowroom to engage with exhibitors and discover new books.”

A full list of exhibitors and events at this year’s fair is available at the LA Art Book Fair website.


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