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Print’s Not Dead, So Visit Room&Book

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Room & Board

“We’re in a golden age of paper in the U.K. and internationally,” related Lucy Moore, the director of Claire de Rouen books in London. “There are so many different types of creative people, whether artists or designers or writers, really enjoying making books and magazines—it’s time to celebrate that.”

The celebration Moore is talking about is the three-day book fair Room&Book, which brings together the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Claire de Rouen, and a host of rare-book creators and dealers to show a broad-ranging trove of art books, special editions, and vintage fashion and cult zines. Room&Book functions differently than your traditional book fair: Rather than bringing in the big publishers to show the major new works, the fair is made up of pieces from niche dealers, specialty bookshops, and artists (like Tauba Auerbach, who will be on-site representing her own publishing imprint). “The importance of the artist publication is sometimes underplayed. I think for most artists, when they produce a publication, it’s almost an extension of their work—if not their work,” explained Gregor Muir, executive director of the ICA, of why these works are so special. “We have to acknowledge that sometimes actual artworks are beyond us, whereas art books are not.”

Room&Board

The pieces at the fair span from new editions from Thurston Moore, Juergen Teller, and Alasdair McLellan to underground zines like seventies punk chronologue New York Rocker, which was brought in its fifty-seven-issue entirety by New York-based dealer Arthur Fournier. “There is a group of dealers, including myself, who are all trying to shake up the trade and bring new materials to this world,” said Fournier. “I’m just so excited to be working in the world of fragile, beautiful, and important precious materials at a time when most of our reading is on iPhones and iPads—these things don’t last forever.”

“What we’re doing isn’t necessarily a book fair,” said Muir. “The idea is to kind of really start to examine the artist book in a different way.”

Room&Book runs from June 6-8 at London’s ICA. For more information, visit ica.org.uk.

Photos: Courtesy Photos