LA Art Book Fair

It was entirely possible to attend every day of Printed Matter’s second annual LA Art Book Fair last weekend and discover something completely new and surprising each time. With a curated selection of the best exhibitors of art books, artists’ publications, and zines, the festival was a celebration of everything that is great about independent publishing. The vibe was friendly and relaxed, and the open-plan space at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA made wandering around enjoyable. This free event meant that you could pop in to hear a lecture in the Classroom, then head outside to get lunch at a food truck while listening to an awesome band, then go back inside to buy a print repeatedly — it was designed to allow you to spend hours there.

And with ATMs and delicious Demistasse drip coffee on-site, there was really no reason to ever leave. Volunteers greeted attendees with a map upon entry, crucial for navigating the space and making sure you were able to find whichever publication you were most looking forward to seeing. Turning right into the Geffen Annex brought you to XE(ROX) & PAPER + SCISSORS, where lovely people from Glasgow’s Good Press, Portland’s Publication Studio, and LA’s own Women’s Center for Creative Work were eager to chat about their books, pamphlets, and other printed material. It was here that visitors could view Fabulosity,an exhibition of NYC Club Kid Culture in the 1980s and 90s by Alexis Dibaisio, in conjunction with a book of the same name by Wild Life Press (UK). If you happened to turn left, up the ramp and onto the mezzanine, you would be in the exhibit space of Printed Matter’s own QUEER ZINES, a curated, but completely comprehensive, selection of work from the personal collections of Philip Aarons and AA Bronson. Various exhibitions were dotted along the walls of the Geffen and were always a delight to find.

The events were particularly strong, creating fresh dialogues in and around contemporary art criticism. Johan Kugelberg from Boo-Hooray lectured in the Classroom on Saturday about the process of creating and preserving archives, the notion of microhistories, and the difficulties associated with recording culture (he highlighted his work with Cornell University to create the Hip-Hop Collection in particular). Or, how to archive a practice that hasn’t been self-documenting? On Sunday, an impressive line-up of artists gathered to perform excerpts from John Baldessari’s own writing, collected in volumes 1&2 of More Than You Wanted to Know About John Baldessari. Each speaker decided how to best present the work: some sang them, some interpreted them through movements or dance, some invited audience participation. So cool to see Baldessari himself in the audience, laughing along with the rest of us.

I’d never think of missing the NYABF, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to miss the LAABF now — such a quality experience all-around.

Introductions: When your name closely resembles a popular piece of pop culture

I started my search for another sublet last week. I need to be out of my current place at the end of the month and, because I'm lazy, I just started this four days ago. I was casually searching on Craigslist when I found something that I thought might suit me. I wrote back to the anonymous email address and was surprised to see a response an hour or so later.

We exchanged one brief email each before it was written, "Have you seen Twin Peaks?" It wasn't that exact phrase, but I've heard enough variations to know that was what this person was getting at. "Have you seen Twin Peaks?" is the polite way of saying that your name closely resembles that of character who's grisly murder investigation captivated audiences in the early 90s. I can't figure out if people mention the association because they think it's cool, or because it's weird. Or both.

Well, anyway, hello.