The International Book Fair at MOMA PSI in Long Island City last weekend was an educational experience, but not for the obvious reasons. Wanting to maintain a literary respectability in the company of my chief librarian sister Louise, and my friend Judy, owner of the appropriately named Wayward Books in Melbourne, I went to the fair in search of a good read and with the ulterior purpose of photographing an art book crafted by Adelaide artist and friend Beth Evans. The book was already sold however, and so there was to be no proof of her NYC premiere. However the opportunity to share the changing face of book culture in 2104 was abundant.
MOMA PSI was once a school, with classrooms, stairways and spaces that for this event revealed one surprise after another. Publishers and book sellers from all over the world presented their wares – books of all shapes and sizes, t-shirts, posters, political statements and tote bags ( if you read something, say something… what you seek is near… ). There was no uniformity in product or in person – it was gloriously refreshing, like a whole new wave of book lovers. A feast of enthusiasm. The sellers were the trendiest of the trendy redefining ‘bookish’ as an artform and so challenging bearded Brooklynites over status for supreme coolness.
I didn’t get a picture of Beth’s book and I was spoilt for choice over a good read. But I did get an invitation to a guerilla event, and I am joyous that pages rather than pixels can be touched and turned into modernity. Books are back!