A floating library and artist record store: 9 must-see booths and events at the L.A. Art Book Fair
Vintage punk zines from the ‘80s. Architect-designed bookends. And a floating library in the middle of Echo Park Lake. The Fourth Annual L.A. Art Book Fair — and the various satellite events it has inspired — is set to bring dozens of artists, booksellers, international presses, independent publishers and antiquarians to the area around downtown Los Angeles this week for a pop-up market dispensing everything from handmade comic books to rare exhibition catalogs.
This year, the fair has also inspired a number of off-site events that are as intriguing as the fair itself — including nighttime art book parties at the Ace Hotel, an artist reading at the Million Dollar Theater and Sarah Peters’ floating library installation in Echo Park, where visitors in pedal boats will be able to check out works to read as they float around the lake.
With so much to do, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Here are nine booths and events not to miss:
1. Preview party
Things kick off Thursday evening at MOCA Geffen with a special event featuring musical performances by Moon Uterus (that’d be Mel Smikovitz, Devendra Banhart and Amy von Harrington at the turntables) along with the gender-bendy, punk-inspired band Christeene. A good opportunity to get your groove on while also getting an advance peek at the bookish merch on offer. Admission: $10. LAABF, MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
2. Historic SoCal ‘zines at Arthur Fournier
Brooklyn-based rare book dealer Arthur Fournier Fine and Rare will have an exhibition devoted to the Southern California punk ‘zine FER YOUz. The zine was produced by photographers Brian and Nikki Tucker in the early 1980s and featured images of people, fashion and performances — including early shows by bands such as Black Flag, TSOL and the Circle Jerks. Fournier is displaying the original color masters of the ‘zine, along with ephemera from the Tuckers’ archive. There will also be a limited edition portfolio of the Tuckers’ photography available for sale.
On Saturday at 2 p.m., the Tuckers will be in conversation with Fowler Museum director Marla C. Berns and Black Flag founding vocalist Keith Morris in the area of the book fair known as the Classroom (aka Gallery D). LAABF, MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, arthurfournier.com and feryouz.com.
3. Book nights at the Ace Hotel
Read by day, party by night. The Ace Hotel is hosting a series of after-hour events every night that the LAABF is in session in collaboration with various independent booksellers: Thursday night will feature product by 8 Ball Zines from New York. Friday will be devoted to works produced by The Thing Quarterly, out of the Bay Area. Saturday will feature a takeover from the artists at Tunica studio, and Sunday will feature a presentation from Mouthfeel Magazine. Naturally, there will be tunes, as well as projections and other artsy happenings. Thursday through Sunday starting at 8:30 every night. Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, acehotel.com.
4. Architectural book products
The team at wHY Architecture (the office of L.A. designer Kulapat Yantrasast) is making its first appearance at the book fair this year, in collaboration with Art Catalogues at LACMA. For the fair, they will present a series of pieces they call “Objects For Book Lovers.” This includes elegantly designed bookends and book stands, as well as a series of new works by sculptor Tanya Brodsky.
Art Catalogues, in the meantime, will offer a range of new and vintage art books and has scheduled four book signings to take place in the space over the course of the fair. These will be by artists and writers Jonathan Hornedo, David Fiesta, Julia Friedman and Evans Vestal Ward. See the fair’s book signing page for times. LAABF, MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, why-site.com and artcatalogues.com.
5. A conceptual record store
Los Angeles conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg has created a record store that features records about records. First, he digitizes obscure works from his own record collection. Then he records these onto blank vintage discs that he both displays and sells online as part of a project called the El Segundo Record Club. The sleeves are all unique. Gallerist Marc Selwyn will have a temporary installation of Ruppersberg’s singular record club at his booth at LAABF. MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, marcselwyinfineart.com.
6. Kim Gordon’s record shop
Vinyl is a theme at this year’s LAABF. Gagosian Gallery is presenting a project by former Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon, who is paying tribute to Feeding Tube Records, a repository of avant-garde vinyl in Florence, Mass. Naturally, there is a special release album by Body/Head (Gordon and guitarist Bill Nace) which will be covered in unique sleeves created by artists such as Laura Owens, Jim Shaw and Rita Ackerman. The gallery’s booth will also feature a listening station and other items from the Feeding Tube inventory. LAABF, MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, gagosian.com.
7. Graffiti ‘zines and altered books
SFAQ[Projects] out of the Bay Area is bringing a pile of original books worth combing through. This includes Barry McGee’s new artist book, “Year in Review - Spring Edition," as well as a new large format ‘zine from the train-hopping artist Swampy, and a limited selection of hand-altered books by Mark Flood. There will also be a wide selection of other ‘zines, artist projects and flat works available. LAABF, MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, sfaq.us.
8. Artist readings
L.A. arts organization ForYourArt is teaming up with Goodreads to present “Everbooks,” a series of artists and writer readings at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown L.A. Hosted by Serpentine Gallery curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, the line-up will include figures such as Eleanor Antin, John Baldessari, Kori Newkirk, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Barbara T. Smith and Aram Saroyan, all reading from their favorite books. Friday at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30, Million Dollar Theater, 307 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, foryourart.com and goodreads.com. Admission: $5; free to readers of Goodreads and ForYouArt with the code “ForYourArt.” Reserve tickets via eventbrite.com.
9. Books on a lake
For the last three summers, Minnesota artist Sarah Peters has placed a floating library in a lake somewhere around Minneapolis. It’s a simple affair — a humble wooden platform on flotation devices that dispenses a variety of artist-made reading materials. The whole project comes from the artist’s own practice: “I built a little rowboat a few years ago and we spent a lot of time rowing around,” she explains. “One of our favorite things was to row out to a lake and then drift and read.”
“The Floating Library” is now coming to L.A. The artist has teamed up with the artist-run space Machine Project to create a library for Echo Park Lake, where visitors will be able to float by and pick up and read one of a selection of artist-made and small press books. A good way to enjoy art books on this very sunny week. Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, machineproject.com and thefloatinglibrary.org.
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