Frequently Asked Questions
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) takes 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 features over 418 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 has been challenging for the field of independent and artists’ publishing, we’re 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 will allow for greater international participation and a more broadly accessible experience for exhibitors and visitors alike.
As part of the Fair, each PMVABF exhibitor will present a dedicated website to feature their projects. On these sites you will encounter artists’ books for purchase, book trailers and artist-made videos, programs and talks, music, as well as have the chance to interact with exhibitors.
We encourage all Fair visitors to spend time exploring Exhibitor Sites and Fair Programs to take advantage of all the event has to offer!
What is opening night and how can I attend?The Opening, Wednesday, February 24, is the official online kick-off event of PMVABF! This celebratory event includes a variety of fun and interactive activities including: music and visual performances, digital games, a Raffle with special guests, and more.
More information on the Opening, coming soon.
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.
More information about PMVABF Fundraising Editions, coming soon!
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.
How can I participate in PMVABF as a partner?We love brainstorming ways for brands and organizations to get involved. The Fair offers a variety of partnership opportunities for those that wish to be part of this fun and unique event. We’d love to hear from you; please inquire directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 is 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!
What kinds of books and projects will I 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 presents a more global representation with exhibitors joining from 41 countries. In the effort towards greater equity, we have 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?We’re excited to share a variety of ways to interact at the Fair. On the bottom of each Exhibitor Site, you will find a link to their website, Instagram account, and email. Additionally, visitors can 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 will be live and pre-recorded programs in which visitors can also pose questions and share thoughts with speakers.
How do I purchase books from Exhibitors?Each Exhibitor will set-up their individual sales method. When you visit an Exhibitor Site you may add items to a cart and complete your purchase. Purchases are made from each Exhibitor separately (there is no combining items into a single cart from one Exhibitor to another). Some Exhibitors may have varying payment options, including Paypal, Venmo, or credit card. Please review any instructions an exhibitor provides in advance of completing your order.
What about shipping?Each exhibitor processes and fulfills shipping individually through their respective site. Some exhibitors will use Cargo’s e-commerce tools, and others will direct you to their own website to complete a purchase. Depending on your and the exhibitor’s location, a local pick-up option may be available.
How do I attend live and past programs?PMVABF will host dozens of live and pre-recorded lectures, readings, screenings, and other activities by artists, publishers, designers, and writers participating in the Fair. Although some may require registration, all Fair programs are free and open to the public all week and weekend long. All PMVABF programs will conclude, and archived recordings of most of these programs will be accessible to all site visitors.
Is the Fair accessible?Printed Matter is 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’ve provided tips and resources for all exhibitors to create an accessible environment on each of their unique sites. For all main PMVABF pages and programs, we will include:
Live captions in English
Alt-text for images on PMVABF Sites
- Archived programs and Exhibitor Sites
What happens when the Fair is over, on February 28th and onward?Printed Matter’s Virtual Art Book Fair takes place over four days, from February 25-28, with an opening on February 24. After the final day, Exhibitor Sites will no longer be linked to the PMVABF Fair website. Main Fair pages will remain and although programs will conclude, archived recordings of most of these programs will be accessible to all 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.