The 10th anniversary edition the New York Art Book Fair, hosted by Printed Matter at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, felt more focused and streamlined than ever, yet still featured over 370 booksellers, publishers, artists and institutions from 28 countries. We tagged along through the fair (check out our picks from last year’s edition here) with a private tour hosted by the International Center of Photography, before being led away by other art-world insiders, and came up with a list of five books we wanted to share.
Conveyor Magazine: Time Travel
Issue number 7 of Conveyor Magazine ($20) explores the fantasy of time travel: the seductive thrill and hope that it holds for visiting and altering the past, present and future. This edition explores the camera as a “time machine” in its own way. Always smart in its content, editing and essays, Conveyor has explored art with scientific fascination for five years now—sadly, the editors told us this would be the final issue. They are, however, working on another project to take its place.
Pierre David: NUANCIER
Pierre David created this color chart while in residence at the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. David photographed the skin on the backs of 40 employees at the museum to produce a classification of skin tones. This interesting publication (€28) from RVB fans out like a color wheel depicting skin pigmentations from light to dark. The opposite side of the fan reveals the portraits of each of the men whose skin was photographed. Apparently the shades—each as beautiful as the last—are codified and produced industrially by the Dutch paint manufacturer Sikkens/Akzo Nobel.
Matthew Porter: Archipelago
Publishing powerhouse MACK continues to produce some of the most beautiful art books from the most innovative photographers. In Archipelago ($50), Matthew Porter—best known for his images of muscle cars flying past backlit streets—designed the book to create correlations between disparate images by configuring them on each page like islands in an archipelago. The well-conceived layout and short texts bring clarity to conflicting photographic styles which might otherwise be confusing.
Gus Powell: The Lonely Ones
Inspired by cartoonist William Steig’s classic 1942 book “The Lonely Ones,” which paired sketches with simple, suggestive text (consider it the opposite of a caption), photographer Gus Powell uses poetic, narrative images in his own iteration ($47). Each photograph in this diminutive gem of a book published by J&L Books is hidden by a gate-fold, on which is printed a short phrase. For instance, “Mistakes were made,” opens to reveal an image of a singe green glass bottle in the middle of a quarry.
Anonymous: Dear Martin
Published by Ampersand in a small edition of just 100 copies, Dear Martin ($25) is a collection of photographs made by an unknown photographer in the late 1960s. Taken over several years, the images all feature the same anonymous man modeling women’s bikini bottoms on a rooftop. Were these self-portraits taken for his own amusement, or part of some engagement with an unrevealed photographer? While these kinds of questions might be limitless, the pictures are remarkable in their obsessive nature and form a curious typology.
Images by Jonah Samson