Books at the Edge of Economy

Event Info

How do books that don’t follow the traditional production, circulation, consumption path find their readers/audiences? What are methods of dissemination that enable books to exist in an alternative social condition, such as gift economies, open distribution, or artful exchange—and what is the value of a book that cannot be bought?  

This panel ponders the performance of how and why books enter public spaces. The panelists will examine books as agents of sharing, organizing, conversation, and dialog through a discussion incorporating personal examples from their practices with references from history, including the Fluxus mailart of the 60’s (Treacy) and Bay Area dadazines of the 1970s (Ozkal). Specific case studies will also be examined: an artist’s book by Susan Silton entitled Who’s in a Name? (Campbell), as well as the bartering and funding model attached to the most recent DesignInquiry Reader (Luu). Taken together these presentations, and the subsequent discussion, illuminate the various ways that artists’ books envision alternative economies as ideal generators of social relationships.

About CABC

Initiated in 2008 by a group of independent volunteers, the Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference presents in depth talks, panels, and conversations to further the critical dialog surrounding artists’ books. CABC Now administered by Center for Book Arts, the CABC committee is made up of a group of independent historians, art librarians, artists, and professionals in the field, sessions cover a range of lively topics from artists, scholars, and other leading figures.

The Contemporary Artists’ Book Conference is a long time programing partner of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs. The 2022 conference is scheduled to take place virtually in October 14 & 15, 2022 in conjunction with Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair.

See the full conference schedule and visit the archive here.

About Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs

Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs are among the leading international gatherings for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community.

Printed Matter presents the 2022 NY Art Book Fair taking place October 13–16, 2022 at 548 W. 22nd Street. NYABF returns to the historic location of Printed Matter’s first Art Book Fair, right around the corner from our Chelsea bookstore! After three years apart, we are grateful to have this opportunity to reunite in person and celebrate the history and future of artists’ book publishing together.

Learn more about NYABF at

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