It’s impossible to discuss our love of the New England Art Book Fair (which is intense) without indexing it proportionally to our hatred of the internet (which is depthless and ever-expanding). It’s true — the more time we spend on the web, the more incredible it is to see artists working through ideas and story forms on real-ass printed matter in the material world.
On October 5 and 6, the NEABF transforms SPACE into a miniature village of avant-garde printed mattter from over 30 artists from around the U.S. hand-printed art books, limited-edition zines, tender propaganda, identity mapping, and next-level design.
Per founder and producer Adam Stockman, the fair is set to open during First Friday Art Walk and continues all day Saturday, while “Monster Press Rally,” a free bookmaking workshop headed by Portland’s Pickwick International Press artists, transpires in the studios upstairs. Here’s a sample of the exotic and singular works at this year’s fair:
Artist/Publisher: J. Morrison
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Description: Created in 2010, HOMOCATS is a visual art project connecting the modern popularity of the feline with social politics. They publish zines, prints, artist books, and screenprinted goods, aiming to fight phobias, propose equal rights, combat cultural stereotypes, question social norms, and resist the Trump administration.
Description: Bar Dykes is a play about 1950s bar dyke culture, written in the early 1980s by queer elder Merril Mushroom. The publication features the first ever printing of the play, accompanied by a current interview with Merril, which details her colorful her-story as a radical gay in the 1960s to the present.
Format/medium: Risograph-printed publication
Project name: Gardener
Artist/Publisher: Matthew Emmons (Second at Best)
Location: greater Boston area
Intention behind the project: The self-published Gardener is set on a failed off world colony and focuses on a former drug addict being hired by a robot to investigate a spreading virus.
Format/medium: India ink with a brush on Bristol paper, color digitally in Photoshop
Publication: Tryin’s Hard
Artist/Publisher: Zoárd Tyeklár
Location: Somerville, MA
Description: A series of drawings about the shared experience of trying to remain a positive individual despite depression, anxiety, the endless work week, the giving up of your time for work, etc.
Format/Medium: Two double-sided two-color silkscreen prints, both 11 x 11 in., plus a sticker (not hand-printed)
Publication: One Page Stinkers
Artists/Publishers: Zach Cunningham, Zoe Haney and Roho
Description: A comics compilation zine that features artists from all around the world.
Format/medium: Comics zine, printed with a Risograph.
Publication: Past the Pond, Setting Fires
Artist/Publisher: Dylan Hausthor (Wilt Press)
Location: Peaks Island/Rockland
Description: In Past The Pond, Setting Fires, Dylan Hausthor manipulates landscapes that are simultaneously autobiographical, documentary, and fictional: a weaving of myth and symbol in order to examine the chaos of photographic storytelling.
Format/medium: 6.6" x 9" two-tone Risograph on recycled French paper. Slipcover including embossed screenprint and an excerpt from Annie Proulx's People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water.
Price: $12. A dollar of each sale goes to the Equal Justice Initiative.
Description: A small collection of photographs about the repeated practice of observation.
Publication: Greenhouse Artist/Publisher: Debbie Fong (Pommo Press) Location: Brooklyn, NY Description: Greenhouse is a comic story about a nameless girl who, struggling with mental health, develops a quiet obsession with botany. As her obsession grows, she’s plagued by inexplicable dreams, and her reality begins to unravel in alarming ways. Format/medium: Risograph-printed zine, 24 pages, 5” x 7.25" Price: $8
Description: A 20-page book of postcards that combines instructions on how to clean someone else's house as a domestic worker with highlights from the migration experience of the artist's family. Postcards cross national borders with ease while most people cannot. Users add their message to the back of the cards, combining their story with the artist’s as they scatter them across the globe.
Publication: Inpatient Vol. 2 Artists/Publishers: Mitch Anzuoni, Rory Hamovit, Dan Schwartz (Inpatient Press) Location: New York City Description: Transcendental transgressive trash Format/medium: Bound books and blotter paper Price: "You gotta haggle"
Publication: Ah Yes Bad Things
Artist/Publisher: Andrea McGinty (Soft City)
Location: New York City
Description: Soft City started when a group of friends bought a Risograph in 2013. They printed their own books, and began reaching out to friends and artists they admire to print theirs. They run Risograph workshops in their Brooklyn studio.
Format/medium: Books and editions by emerging artists
Nick Schroeder is the editor of the Portland Phoenix, where he began as an arts writer and listings coordinator in 2009. He is formerly the editor of Dispatch and DigPortland, and a contributor to Down East and Take magazines.
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