Offprint art book fair at TATE Modern (18–20 May) was a joy to behold and be a part of! Over the weekend the sheer excitement and buzz in the epic Turbine Hall was palpable, just as it was last year. It’s times like this which galvanize our faith in artful publishing, and remind us that beautiful art books are still alive and well, just as people’s passion is for them too.
Apparently our table was particularly noticeable amongst the throng of exhibitors, partly because we had such a verdant display of so much stuff! We had a special selection of lovely books by our very own HOME Publications in Manchester. It received a great deal of attention and not least the fabulous new book, CAPSID from the artist, John Walter. Also it’s good job we took plenty of copies of Transactions of Desire along with us because it was our bestseller of the weekend! It looks like the people of London wanted some ‘Mills and Boon gone bad’ literature in their lives.
A particular highlight of the fair for us really has to be the appearance of arty musician, Thurston Moore (guitarist with Sonic Youth). It was a pretty cool moment. He spent five minutes nonchalantly browsing our wares and, being the modest guy that he is, barely even glanced at his own band’s book, Sonic Youth etc. Sensational Fix (which, incidentally sold out!).
It was really good to see our new publisher friend the London-based gallerist, Domo Baal. She was accompanied by the artist, Neil Gall and they both brought along copies of his superb new book, The Studio: Cover Versions which is hot off the press and published alongside his current exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.
Two of our esteemed publishers were also exhibiting at Offprint this year. Focal Point Gallery were in pride-of-place at the entrance to the fair with a brilliant selection of their books and printed matter. It was, of course, an invaluable opportunity for them to promote their exciting and most anticipated forthcoming publication, Radical Essex. The illustrious Lisson Gallery showed their range of important artist’s books, and in particular made a well justified fuss over their rather special 50th anniversary tome, ARTIST | WORK | LISSON.
Lastly (but by no means least), we really should mention a couple of our independent bookshop comrades in London who were also exhibiting at the fair. After all, they are our bread and butter. Claire de Rouen Bookshop and Tenderbooks both brought along a great mix of rare and collectible artists’ publications and ephemera. The world of art books would be a far less vibrant place without people like them. Vive la independent bookshops! To be continued…