Print isn’t dying, and it certainly isn’t dead. Ask anyone who went to this month’s Culture Crush, the New York Art Book Fair 2017. Presented by Printed Matter, the name says all it needs to. From t-shirts to stickers, everything print came alive at this annual affair at MoMA’s PS1 location.
Beginning under a large enclosed tent, I strolled up and down aisles where artists and businesses had set up their works. The walls were jam-packed with colors and images, and tables were covered with knick-knacks. You could sense the artists’ humor in the buttons that read “My heart is a trashbag”, and a handwritten “Supreme” logo slapped onto a handheld fan. (Possibly a commentary on some of the backlash after Supreme collaborated with Louis Vuitton? Read about that here.)
I particularly enjoyed a “Dogs With Abs” calendar, which I couldn’t resist purchasing. One artist told me the book I had been looking at, (which described various city men and his brief intimate encounters with them), had been an experiment. He explained that said men paid for “a massage”, and all their payments had gone into the making of that very book where he comically exploited them. (Fun fact: his business card depicted him pooping bricks.)
Once inside the museum, there were three whole floors to explore. Some showcased photographs, others featured booths by well-known printing companies and make-shift brands run by teenagers and young adults. Room by room, I had a perpetual grin across my face because of the artistry I saw, the humor on multiple signs (i.e. Trump playing golf while everything was in flames around him), and the way the audience was completely invested in each booth.
I had touched so many things that ink had started to rub off on my fingertips. Whenever I looked up, I saw the crowd mirroring my grin while interacting with the printed items. The digital world may be taking over, but it will never replace the feeling this group of people clearly had in tangible things they could hold in their own two hands.
The fair was everything I could’ve wished for and more. There was always something look at, and I was completely invested in everything I touched, knowing that someone put time and effort in creating something that other people would enjoy. Beautiful, sometimes corny, mostly inappropriate, and always fun, the NY Art Book Fair is an event I’ll make room in my schedule for every year to come.
To view more photos of the fair, hop on over to Life.