The NY Art Book Fair may be overcrowded and visually overwhelming, but I’ve missed it. Where else can a blue-chip art gallery, an antiquarian bookseller and a 22-year-old zinester share space for a sweaty weekend?
For this year’s iteration, the fair’s first IRL-undertaking in New York since 2019, organizer Printed Matter has taken the fair out of MoMA PS1 and returned to the site of its first event, which took place all the way back in 2006: 548 West 22nd street in Chelsea.
A lot has changed in the intervening 16 years, but artist Noah Lyon has had a booth at every fair.
“At the very beginning it was kind of for art book collectors – a pretty small, nerdy collector population,” he told me from his station on the 4th floor, where he was selling his signature buttons along with a new zine called Weirdos. “16 years later, zine culture’s huge, and I think the fair contributed to that a lot,” he added.
Indeed, the sea of umbrellas that I was greeted with upon arrival pointed to nothing but a healthy art book economy. Somehow, I was able to skirt the long line and finagle my way in through the exhibitor door and into drier conditions. Then I was bombarded with the usual aesthetic overload: books, zines, shirts and posters from every corner of the art-and-countercultural world.