Five Notes: Five Fun Finds at the N.Y. Art Book Fair

By Bill Clarke

Obviously, the New York Art Book Fair, which took over three floors of the sprawling P.S. 1 MoMA space in Queens from November 4 to 7, 2010 is mainly about art books, but there is so much more. Ephemera and objects of all shapes and sizes and prices also fill the walls and line the display tables and shelves. Here are some cool finds from this year’s fair that, if I had endless disposal income, I would have snapped up.


Taylor Mead: Second1. Taylor Mead: SECOND: Anonymous Excerpts from the Diary of a New York Youth

Taylor Mead, a poet and actor who became part of the Warhol Factory entourage in the 1960s privately published three volumes of his ‘autobiography’ in Beat-poetry format in 1961, 1962 (this volume) and 1968. This copy, a first edition, was inscribed by Mead to a fellow poet and dated. And, yes…that’s also a first edition of Ed Ruscha’s Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations on the shelf in front of it.


2. Vintage Twiggy poster

Twiggy, in all her life-sized 1960s Swinging London glory! Produced by Super Posters Ltd. of New York in 1967, this is a great example of the kind of ephemeral object that probably sold by the truckloads, but who can tell how many are still floating around out there in decent shape. It’d be pretty groovy to wake up and be greeted by Twiggy’s big doe eyes every morning, I think.


3. Jane and Jeremy

This lovely young couple from Liverpool hand-sew utterly sweet books in small editions, which consist mainly of their own whimsical snapshots. They are a perfect example of packaging making all the difference between wanting to pick up a book, or not. Their most recent book, Having a Wonderful Time in Europa (pictured), is an edition of 60 that slips into a map of Europe that they‘ve stitched into an envelope. Another small book, XXX, features a soft pink cover, the contents consisting of Polaroids snapped at the moment that the two leads in Hollywood films kiss. This year’s fair was also their first time visiting New York, and their enthusiasm for being there was totally infectious. For more information, see www.jane-jeremy.co.uk.


4. Promotional item for Andy Warhol’s films

Produced around 1969, this item was issued by Warhol Films Inc. to promote the feature-length films that the Pop artist had produced to date, including Chelsea Girls (1966) and Lonesome Cowboys (1968). The front of this cardboard artifact features a close-up of the artist’s face, with cut-outs between his lips and in one frame of his sunglasses. Attached to the back is a disc picturing scenes from the films and the titles; when turned, a film still appears in the sunglasses with the corresponding title in Warhol’s mouth. I don’t think the dealer even got this back into his glass display case after he was nice enough to let me photograph it; someone else scooped up this rarity on the spot. Oh, well…


5. Suggested Topics of Conversation for Art Openings, Gallery Tours and Other Art-Related Events buttons

Montreal-based Jennifer Cherniack made this set of eight amusing buttons for the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, which was giving them away at their table. The buttons feature, as the title says, topics of conversation that one could undertake at art-related events. Topics include: “Exhibitions where I touched something that I shouldn’t have” (I’ve never done that, but I did set off an alarm at the Louvre once) and “Artists who have made an appearance in my dreams”, which, for me, includes almost every artist who has appeared in Magenta so far! As someone who attends at least two art events a week, these buttons will come in handy!

Bill ClarkeBill Clarke is the Executive Editor of Magenta Magazine Online (MMO). He is also a regular contributor to Canadian Art and Border Crossings in Canada, and ARTnews and Modern Painters in the U.S. He is already looking forward to compiling the next issue of MMO, which will focus on painting.