Making its debut at this year’s New York City Book and Ephemera Fair on March 9 to 10, the Booklyn Artists’ Book Fair shines a light on the power of artists’ books as a force for social justice. The Fair will include more than 40 tables showcasing esoteric book makers in a variety of media including aquatint, collage, fine letterpress, hand-painted, photo-art, screenprint and risograph. It’s a “cutting-edge alternative” to the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America Book Fair and other art fairs happening over that weekend, says Monica Johnson, Booklyn’s managing director.
The fair promises thought-provoking, activist art including an exhibition from Swarthmore College’s “Friends, Peace and Sanctuary” project, a collaboration between American artist bookmakers and artists and poets and artisans from the Syrian and Iraqi refugee community in Philadelphia. The traveling exhibition is the result of a two-year artistic exploration on the connections between history and experience, displacement and refuge, and empathy and belonging.
Image: Syrian artist Islam Mahmoud Aly, collaborator with the Friends, Peace & Sanctuary Project, courtesy of Swarthmore College.
Among the other topical works on display at the book fair is zinester Sofia Szamosi’s “#METOO ON INSTAGRAM: ONE YEAR LATER,” a zine featuring illustrations of photos posted on Instagram with the hashtag #metoo during the month of October 2018. In addition to individual artists, exhibitors include social and environmentally focused collectives such as Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, made up of 30 North American artists and Occuprint, a group dedicated to posters and print media related to the Occupy movement.
Booklyn is an artist-run non-profit focused on supporting artists and organizations committed to environmental and social justice. That mission takes many forms, from book arts education—such as lectures and workshops on zine design and creation and using zines in the classroom—to the Boxed Set initiative, a project that archives artists’ work in beautiful presentation packages for acquisition by museums and educational organizations. Booklyn also offers an emerging curators program and an annual zine fest called Sass + Zines.
Founded in 1999 as a way for book artists to access formal institutions and the broader art world, Booklyn’s mission has expanded to include a social justice component, helping groups and individuals produce and distribute issue-driven media. Booklyn co-founder and current curator Marshall Weber will have work on view at the fair.
Booklyn will be debuting this year at the NYC Book and Ephemera Fair, now in its fifth season. Over the course of two days, 110 dealers and artists from across the country and Europe will showcase rare books, maps, ephemera, and other works on paper at the Sheraton Central Park at Times Square. Known affectionately as the “Satellite Fair” for its proximity to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, this is a can’t-miss event for bibliophiles of all stripes this spring.
Daily tickets to the two-day extravaganza are $15, free for students. For more information and discount tickets, see www.nycbookfair.com . Free Sunday passes are also available on the website.
The gallery of artists can be seen here.