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Recap: Printed Matter’s 2016 LA Art Book Fair

10:49 AM PST on February 24, 2016

Editors note: We love the LAABF and have participated in some way or another since the very first one. Last week we published a story about a young zine hustler that some of our readers felt was disrespectful to the fair and not an accurate representation of what went down that weekend. One of our readers asked to help with our recap as a way to give a different perspective, so please enjoy these photos by Desilu Munoz and words by Joe Goblyn, member of Applesauce and Camera Creeps.

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Last weekend the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo hosted Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair. It was the third one I have attended and the event was amazing.

The Fair is a free event that goes through the weekend and divides the museum’s floor into a huge exhibition space for art book presses, booksellers, artists and independent publishers to showcase their works.  This year there was more than 40,000 guests that came through over the weekend.

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The addition of a new wall and a new theater in the Geffen reduced the space available in the zine room making it even harder to get a table with there being less spaces this year than there were last time around. Printed Matter, Inc.  didn’t just accept that. They reduced the table sizes for everyone in the Zine Room to maximize the number of vendors that they could fit.

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Some people took that to heart and took an anti-Fair stance, some made their own fair and had that going down the street and others wandered around the Fair using social media and a duffle bag full of art to connect with their audience.  The organizers did their best, but sometimes no one can make it for you, no matter how bad you wish they could. That’s where the whole DIY sensibility comes in and makes things happen.

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We were lucky enough to get a table and as vendors in the (XE)ROX &PAPER +SCISSORS room we (Desilu Muñoz, Paul Carrillo , Sifry Borrayo and myself ) formed like Voltron to form the Wu-Ta….I mean to form Applesauce Industries. As a collective we make zines of our individual art and photos and thing as well as patches, pins, t-shirts and whatever else we can afford after paying rent and bills.  The table costs $150 for the weekend and we’re all coming out of pocket for food, printing and   parking ($10, are you serious?!) but it’s all a labor of love. It’s well worth it for the chance to connect with the community of folks making their own things to put out there and the chance to show strangers what we have been working on,

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The whole point of the Book Fair is to bring people from around the world to LA to present their art, and to give the people of LA and it’s surrounding areas a place to congregate and be exposed to great art from everywhere they would have never been exposed to in their daily lives. There’s a great thing in social media and it’s ability to connect people to things they appreciate, but at the Fair everything is physical. Paper, ink and glue all come together to make something you can take with you and appreciate tangibly.  And there is a huge variety to choose from.

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And therein lies the beauty of last weekend’s LAABF, not in the exclusivity of the vendors or the cost of the production, but in the guy with his marathon number still on flipping through my girlfriend’s photo zine, the elderly lady who was ‘only out for the Chinese New Year Festival” laughing at the Fat Bart patch my fried made and the couple who wandered in on Valentine’s Day and found out that one of them ‘used to do photography’ and wandered off to talk about it. The LAABF is there for all of us to stumble upon and peruse, even those of us that don’t really get art.

It’s there and it’s free (except for that damn Preview Night) and I hope that it is there every spring for forever.

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