Celebrating DIY culture in the Hub
Buckle up, zine, art book, graphics, art, print, and analog sound nerds of Boston: There’s about to be a new art fair in town that caters to your obscure intellectual needs and quirky sensorial desires!
If you’re reading this on paper and feeling sad feelings about the paper stock it’s printed on, this fair is for you. If you’ve got a coffee table or turntable that doesn’t offer up as much fascination to those who visit your home as it could, this fair is for you. And especially, if you want to meet others in Boston who are capable of holding conversations that aren’t tweets and referencing imagery that isn’t memes, this fair is for you.
Co-founded by Oliver Mak of Bodega and the Fourth Wall Project, and the Boston Center for the Arts’ Randi Hopkins, with support from Camilo Alvarez of Samson Projects, Sam Potrykus of Brain Arts Organization, and representatives from two national art book presses with strong local ties—Richard Gregg (Aperture) and Mark Pearson (Artbook/D.A.P.)—the festival will likely have its nose to the ground about what’s good locally at both the indy and fine art levels, as well as an eye toward the national/international art book/zine scene.
Like LA, New York City, and San Francisco’s artists, Boston’s artists finally have their own place to show and discuss their handmade and small-press-produced wares—and they’re clearly ready for it; several artists on the ever-growing participant list have been schlepping their work to other cities’ book fairs for years now. And it’s heartening to note that at least a handful of artists and presses are returning the favor.
By phone, Mak estimates that about 80 percent of the 60 +exhibitors are from the East Coast, mentioning a few of the farther-flung projects off the top of his head. “There’s Aint—Bad Magazine [Atlanta, Georgia] and Amadeus [Los Angeles, California].” The smallest press might be Books for All, which only publishes (very cool-looking!) zines by artists with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The biggest national/international press in attendance is Phaidon. And the most established local institutions bold enough to jump aboard in the first year include MIT Press and Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. All of this was pulled together in under six months.
Though heavy-hitting presses and local galleries and institutions will be present, the fair is most especially about showcasing artists and DIY projects. “This will be a landmark event for DIY culture in Boston,” Mak assures.
In addition to printed matter—and at least one record label, Get on Down, that will be sharing its unique offerings—the fair will feature DJ sets (those confirmed so far include Pat Falco, Johnny Cupcakes, and Johnny Stevens of Soulelujah), panel discussions, film screenings, and some (even family-friendly) workshops all programmed by 8-Ball Community.
Tickets ($20) to the Friday night preview events and a limited edition print by Kristin Texeria help with the travel expenses of long-distance DIY presenters. A limited edition T-shirt designed by local artist Pat Falco and produced in conjunction with Carhartt will also help underwrite the event, so that the weekend-long fair itself can remain completely free to the public.
BOSTON ART BOOK FAIR. 10.21, 12-8PM; 10.22, 12-6PM; FREE. 10.20 PREVIEW, 5:30-7PM AND 7:30-9PM, $20. BOSTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS, 539 TREMONT ST., BOSTON. BOSTONARTBOOKFAIR.COM