Welcome to the new issue of Magenta, the content of which we’ve tied into the first iteration of the /edition Art Book Fair. A dedicated team, consisting of the Magenta Foundation, Division Gallery, Art Metropole and a small advisory committee, has been planning the fair for almost a year. We can’t believe that it is finally happening!
From the evening of Thursday Oct. 27 to Monday, Oct. 31, the /edition Art Book Fair will present over 60 Canadian and international vendors exhibiting a wide range of art publications, artist’s books and editions (or, as we define them, “artworks produced in numbers greater than one.”) The fair takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) at the same time as Art Toronto, Canada’s international art fair.
For years, many of us have wondered when Toronto would get its own truly international art book fair. Since the founding of Art Metropole by the collective General Idea in the early-70s, Toronto has had a central role in the development of artist’s books and multiples. So, not having a fair dedicated to such forms of art production was feeling like an obvious lack. For many artists, the phrase “publish or perish” applies, and the interest in artist-produced books and editions is growing among producers and collectors. The New York Art Book Fair has become hugely popular, and similar fairs have sprung up in in Los Angeles, London, Basel and Vancouver. So, why not here?
Division Gallery and the Magenta Foundation, being an art book publisher itself, asked themselves that question and, back in the fall of 2015, started looking into the possibility of an art book fair here. When we asked those who we considered stakeholders in the success of such a fair, they were enthusiastic, but worried that the fair would feel Toronto-centric, with just “the same vendors and the same people” attending. When and where to hold it was going to be crucial to expanding the scope and audience for such a fair.
And then, Art Toronto generously offered a space adjacent to them at the MTCC. Needless to say, this was an exciting proposition! Running concurrently with Art Toronto, a fair that has grown in attendance and sophistication in recent years, had the potential to expose /edition’s vendors to the over 21,000 art-engaged individuals who visit Art Toronto.
Because of that, and since admission to /edition is free, we anticipate a busy fair! We hope that you will come out for some of the stellar programming that Art Metropole has organized as part of /edition. Our program of local, national and international speakers, panels and workshops will definitely challenge, educate and inform.
We are also excited to bring New York-based artist Rutherford Chang’s installation We Buy White Albums to Canada for the first time. We Buy White Albums consists of over 1,600 first-pressings of the Beatles’ eponymous 1968 double album that the artist has acquired over the past 10 years. Each first pressing of the album features an unique serial number stamped on the front. Conceived by British Pop artist Richard Hamilton as an artist’s edition produced in the millions, the plain white covers have worn over time, showing ring wear and water damage. Others have been personalized by their previous owners. Chang arranges the albums in bins, as in a record store, by their serial numbers, inviting visitors to flip through the bins to see how the records’ plain white jackets have aged.
The /edition Art Book Fair team greatly appreciates the support of the organizations and individuals who have helped us make the first year of the fair a reality. It would not be happening without their support.
Lastly, on a personal note, as a collector of artist’s books and multiples, I look forward to adding to my own collection during the fair, and meeting many like-minded fans of artist’s books and multiples over the course of the weekend.
We look forward to welcoming you to the fair!
Bill Clarke was the Executive Editor of Magenta Magazine Online from its inception in September 2009 until May 2017. His writing has been published in Modern Painters, Art Review, Canadian Art, Artnews and several other publications. In January 2017, he assumed the position of associate director at Angell Gallery in Toronto.