Design and Architecture Highlights From the New York Art Book Fair

Design and Architecture Highlights From the New York Art Book Fair
Scenes from New York Art Book Fair 2011
(Video stills courtesy of Blouinartinfo )

This weekend, in its eighth annual edition, the New York Art Book Fair has yet-again transformed MoMA PS1 into a sprawling, pop-up bookshop, with the best in limited-edition artists’ books, zines, posters and various other forms of art publishing. The fair’s monumental proportions — last year it welcomed 283 publishers from around the world, with its crowded booths accompanied by various artist performances and lectures — may make publishers with a particular leaning towards architecture, urbanism, and design hard to source out among the sheer proliferation of works. For happier hunting, here are a few of our favorite publishers of books related to the built environment, and where to find them in PS1’s packed corridors.


Sternberg Press 

This Berlin-based publisher, which specializes in art criticism, artists’ books, and philosophical tracts, has also released a steady stream of exceptional architecture books. Publications such as those in its new Critical Spatial Practice series bring together history and criticism of the built environment through insightful and unusual interpretations. One highlight at the booth this year is Sternberg’s Ministry of Highways: A Guide to the Performative Architecture of Tbilisi (Spring 2013, $20), released earlier this year in conjunction with the opening of the Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Edited by Pavilion curator Joanna Warsza and including texts by many of its artists, as well as other regional artists and researchers such as Slavs and Tatars, the book expands upon the Pavilion’s earlier look into palimpsestic residential architecture in the post-Soviet state capital, while also providing a broader view into contemporary architectural dialogue in the Caucasus. Look out also for Archaeology of the Digital Age, edited by Greg Lynn (Spring 2013, $38), which features writings by the likes of Frank Gehry and Peter Eisenman on the role of digital rendering tools in the conceptualization and production of architecture. (Located on Floor 2, Booth Q64)

Yale School of Architecture

With a publishing house attached to its famed architecture school, the New Haven institution is responsible for some of the most cutting-edge publications in the architectural profession, including the recent Train of Cities by famed urbanists Fred Koetter and Edward Mitchell on the revitalization of small towns along the Massachusetts coast (Spring 2013, $44). The school won a corner project room at the Art Book Fair, where professor Luke Bulman has organized “16,392 Images That Matter to Architecture,” a presentation of work produced from 2008-13 in his Books and Architecture seminar. Bulman explained to ARTINFO: “I asked the students to collect and sequence 256 images that matter to architecture.” All the resulting books are displayed around a low pedestal that invites the visitor to flip through these individual reflections on the constructed, architectural nature of book-objects and the assembled, sequenced qualities of architecture. Nothing is for sale, which is atypical for the fair, making the entire endeavor instead a quiet respite from the surrounding commotion. (Floor 1, Room H)

An installation view of "16,392 Images That Matter to Architecture" at the 2013 NYABF. Courtesy of Luke Bulman

Project Projects

A multidisciplinary design studio that doubles as an imprint called Inventory Books, New York City’s Project Projects is a writing, editing, and curatorial endeavor that has already released several fantastic books on architecture and urbanism, amongst them Where are the Utopian Visionaries? Architecture of Social Exchange (Fall 2012, $35) and Architects’ Journeys: Building, Traveling, Thinking (Summer 2011, $25). Their pièce de résistance at this weekend’s fair is Planning for Protest (Fall 2013, $35), a survey of urban space as the mechanism and site for protest, published in concert with a space curated by Project Projects at this year’s Lisbon Architecture Triennale. The compilation eschews book format, packaged instead as 12 envelopes with maps, texts, and images about the role of urban space in political uprisings through 12 cities — including Istanbul, Cairo, and New York — where local architecture studios carried out the enclosed research. Adam Michaels, a founding principal of the studio and the project’s New York contributor told ARTINFO that both the content and form of Planning for Protest are political: “Since this is an exhibition in a box, you could send it to, say, Cairo and turn it into a site for public dissemination of information there.” (Floor 1, Booth D04)


As one of the fair’s most prolific publishing houses, Artbook has an entire room devoted to its wares this weekend at PS1. Some of the best museum catalogs in the architectural field can be found inside, alongside a plethora of texts and photography books on architecture and urbanism. Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes (Summer 2013, $75), the spectacular catalog to MoMA’s Le Corbusier retrospective, is full of curator- and expert-penned essays on the many features of the singular architect’s oeuvre, and British designer Tom Dixon’s Dixonary is likewise worth the time of any design aficionado (Fall 2013, $50). (Floor 1, M. Wells Annex)