What is Printed Matter?︎︎
Founded by artists and artworkers in 1976, Printed Matter fosters the distribution, understanding and appreciation of artists' books and related publications. Printed Matter is now one of the world's largest non-profit distributors of artists' books and offers many free programs and services to artists and the public, including our longrunning NY and LA Art Book Fairs. Printed Matter has two locations in NYC: our flagship location in Chelsea and our St Marks location in the East Village. Visit our website and browse our catalog! printedmatter.org
What is Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair?︎︎
Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair (PMVABF) took place from February 25–28, 2021, with an Opening on February 24. Since 2005, Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs have hosted international exhibitors featuring a wide variety of works—from zines and artists’ books to rare and out of print publications, and contemporary art editions. Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair featured over 400 exhibitors from 41 countries, with online programs, performances, games, and more! In past years, our beloved NY and LA Art Book Fairs drew over 40,000 visitors around a shared interest in artists’ books. While 2020 had been challenging for the field of independent and artists’ publishing, we were grateful and excited for the chance to bring this community together to uplift the important work of new and longstanding publishers.
PMVABF is hosted on Cargo, offering a variety of ways to discover and engage with artists’ books. This online platform allows for greater international participation and a more broadly accessible experience for exhibitors and visitors alike.
As part of the Fair, each PMVABF exhibitor presented a dedicated website to feature their projects. On these sites visitors encountered artists’ books for purchase, book trailers and artist-made videos, programs and talks, music, as well as the chance to interact with exhibitors via a chat box.
What are fundraising editions?︎︎
Printed Matter regularly works with artists to create editioned artworks in support of our nonprofit programs and services. Fundraising editions are a significant means of support for Printed Matter’s operations and our work on behalf of artists. While these editions are an important source of revenue for our organization, their production and distribution are also closely aligned with our mission, as we interpret the creation of artist multiples to be a form of publication.
We announced the newest fundraising editions produced on the occasion of Printed Matter's Virtual Art Book Fair, February 24–28, 2021. These new editions by Cory Arcangel, Carroll Dunham, Claudia Peña Salinas, and Karl Wirsum are now available to purchase. Special thanks to each of these artists for their contributions, and to New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) for their partnership in co-producing the edition by Karl Wirsum.
For more information about the PMVABF Fundraising Editions, or to purchase, click here!
Should I become a Printed Matter member?︎︎
Yes! Join Printed Matter and help circulate art and ideas, amplify the voices of artists, and support nonprofit programs that bring artists’ books to the public. In gratitude, Members receive discounts on purchases at Printed Matter and other special perks. Learn more about becoming a Printed Matter Member here.
What are artists’ books?︎︎
The term “artists’ books” refers to publications that have been conceived as artworks in their own right. These “projects for the page” are generally inexpensive, often produced in large or open editions, and are democratically available.
Reading an artists’ book is a physical experience that allows a connection with the medium that is individual and personal. The artists’ book invites us to hold it and turn through its pages. Whether the contents are visually or linguistically based (sometimes a mix of both), the interplay of text and/or images, as well as considerations of printing process and the design of the book, allows for many exciting possibilities within narrative and meaning that are specific to the artists’ book alone.
PMVABF committed to showcasing the breadth and depth of the artists’ publishing community, including zine makers, photobook publishers, dealers of rare and out of print materials, with many others who innovate in the field, often redefining and expanding upon the definitions of artists’ books.
The best way to define artists’ books for yourself is to explore the Fair archive!
What kind of books and projects could one find at PMVABF?︎︎
Each Fair, Printed Matter brings together a selection of new and established publishers in the field, aiming to highlight the expansive and constantly evolving genre of artists’ books. In 2021, PMVABF presented a more global representation with exhibitors joining from 41 countries. In the effort towards greater equity, we prioritized applications from Black artists and publishers, as well as other marginalized identities.You can browse a list of exhibitors from every past NY and LA Art Book Fair in our archive here.
How can I communicate with publishers and other PMVABF participants?︎︎
There were a variety of ways to interact during the Fair. On the bottom of each Exhibitor Site, one could find a link to their website, Instagram account, and email. Additionally, visitors were able to see each Exhibitor’s local time, and send a message directly to an exhibitor using the chat box on the bottom right corner. Throughout the Fair weekend, there were live and pre-recorded programs in which visitors could pose questions and share thoughts with speakers.
During the Fair, visitors could navigate the site by clicking on the dice from the homepage, and site headers. The dice randomized all PMVABF Exhibitor site presentations so that Fair visitors could explore and discover publishers through this fun, non-linear method. As these PMVABF Exhibitor sites were limited to the 5 day duration of the Fair, the current archive maintains this special function, taking you to a randomized main website of one of the participating PMVABF Exhibitors. You can also still communicate with Exhibitors by exploring the Exhibitor Directory which will also link you to the main websites of the participating Exhibitors.
How do I purchase books from Exhibitors?︎︎
Each Exhibitor set-up their individual sales method. When you visited an Exhibitor Site you could add items to a cart and complete your purchase. Purchases were made from each Exhibitor separately. Some Exhibitors had varying payment options, including Paypal, Venmo, or credit card. We encourage you to visit the Exhibitor's websites and purchase their publications directly via the Exhibitor directory.
What about shipping?︎︎
Each exhibitor processed and fulfilled shipping individually through their respective site. Some exhibitors used Cargo’s e-commerce tools, and others directed buyers to their own website to complete a purchase. Depending on the customer's and the exhibitor’s location, local pick-up option were made available.
How do I attend live and past programs?︎︎
PMVABF hosted dozens of live and pre-recorded lectures, readings, screenings, and other activities by artists, publishers, designers, and writers participating in the Fair. All archived Fair programs continue to be free and open to the public. Each program channel—The Classroom/Friendly Fire, CABC, and The Stage—included an interactive chat section where one could ask questions and share thoughts directly with panelists and participants. All programs are archived now archived to watch at your convenience. Click here to see the Full Schedule.
Is the Fair accessible?︎︎
Printed Matter committed to making PMVABF accessible and navigable for everyone. If you are having difficulty viewing or navigating the content on this website, or notice any content, feature, or functionality that you believe is not fully accessible to people with disabilities, please email our Fairs Team at email@example.com.
We provided tips and resources for all exhibitors to create an accessible environment on each of their unique sites. Images on main Fair pages includes alt- text. Most archived programs in The Classroom, Friendly Fire, and CABC includes closed captions in English. Additionally, a full transcript of captions is shared alongside the archive of each day’s programs.
What happens now that the Fair is over, after February 28th and onward?︎︎
Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair took place over four days, from February 25-28, with an opening on February 24. Exhibitor Sites are no longer be linked to the PMVABF Fair website. Main Fair pages remain and although programs have concluded, archived recordings of most of these programs are accessible to all current and future site visitors.
How can I be an exhibitor in a future Printed Matter Art Book Fair?︎︎
Printed Matter’s Fairs celebrate the breadth of the artists’ publishing community. For each Fair, we receive hundreds of applications from which we curate a Fair that strives to represent an exciting range of artists and publishers from around the globe.
Publish, sell, or distribute art books or artists’ books
Have a demonstrated dedication to bookmaking and publishing
Possess a commitment to creativity and experimentation
Subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on social media for all updates on applications and deadlines.