Shop the 2024 Benefit Art Sale

Online OnlyNov 06, 2019

Not to be Missed: The Boston Art Book Fair is Back for a Third Year

Back and bigger than ever, the BABF features over 140 exhibitors and a large lineup of programming. Here’s our top ten list for the weekend!

Visitors explore the Boston Art Book Fair at the Cyclorama, where large, green, inflatable structures are on display.

View of Boston Art Book Fair, 2018 with an installation by Pneuhaus. Image courtesy of Boston Center for the Arts.

When the Boston Art Book Fair was launched in 2017 through a collaborative effort led by Randi Hopkins, Director of Visual arts at the Boston Center for the Arts and Oliver Mak, Founder of BODEGA, it sent a ripple through Boston’s art community. Finally, Boston joined the ranks of New York, San Francisco and LA in providing crucial space for independent publishers, zine makers, and artists to gather, collaborate, and share their work.

This weekend, the Boston Art Book Fair is back and bigger than ever before. With over 140 exhibitors, a stacked lineup of programming, and an all new curated salon, there is plenty to keep you busy throughout the whole weekend of November 8th through 10th. Beginning on Friday night, the Boston Art Book Fair will open their doors for a kick-off event and preview party. This ticketed event is your chance to get a first look inside the fair and snatch up any limited-edition ephemera you’ve been eyeing all while enjoying DJ sets by DJ7L and performances by Playthings: Drag-a-Zine. (Use promo code INSTA to get $5 off preview party tickets.)

Throughout the rest of the weekend, the fair is free and open to all, with workshops, panels, and performances back to back from 12 PM to 7 PM on Saturday and 12 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. We know you’re already planning on spending the whole weekend with us, but in case your time is limited, we’ve narrowed down our picks of can’t miss publishers, panels, and pop ups.

1. Panel Picks 


Print Work As Collective Work | Saturday 11/9 at 1 PM   |  A conversation with our friends over at Print Ain’t Dead (Arielle Gray & Cierra Michele Peters), Press Press (Kimi Hanuaer, Valentina Cabezas, & Bomin Jeon) and the Black Studies Reading Room (Jovonna Jones) moderated by Abigail Satinsky. This conversation will focus on platform-making that highlights and centers around the creative contributions and cultural production of immigrants and people of color in print. Each of these groups and projects work collectively to study, research, engage in archives, and produce new work that critically assesses racial and cultural politics in print culture and creates new models of production and distribution.

On Independent Arts Publishing | Saturday, 11/9 at 3 PM  |  A little self promotion on a subject we love: independent publishing! Join Boston Art Review Editor in Chief, Jameson Johnson for a panel discussion with arts and culture editors, designers, and writers from four different cities. Learn more about the publishing process from pitching to editing to designing. The panel will explore the changing landscape for arts and culture magazines/journals and how their models might shape the future of independent publishing.  With Alex Khatchadourian/Amadeus (LA), Kristen Felicetti/The Bushwick Review (NY), Jason Tranchida/Headmaster (RI) and Lisa Pearson/Siglio (Hudson Valley).

2. Pop Ups 


The Cauldron is Brewing up a Cozy Salon  |  Join Cauldron Co-Founders Kate McBride and Carlie Febo inside their curated salon that is making space for twenty-five local and visiting makers around “radical intersectional feminism, political activism, fostering community, rebellion, overthrowing the status quo, sustainability, and maybe a touch of the occult.” Joining them will be Hourglass, Snake Hair Press, and Raw Meat Collective among others.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is Creating A Reading Room  |  We can’t reveal too much information about this one, but we’ve heard a few rumors that visitors will be “transported through time” back to the era of Isabella Stewart Gardner herself. May you dream of beautiful oak tables, intricate tapestries, and lush rugs until then.

3. Parties 


Photo courtesy of CLLCTV.US

Converse is Hosting a Super Cool After Party and We’re All Invited | Saturday, 11/9 from 10 PM – 2 AM  |  After the fair, head on over to the Foundation Room at the House of Blues for an art book fair after party with CLLCTV.US. This event is 21+ and free with RSVP. Music By Vintage Lee, Huneycut, and Baby Indiglo all night long.

4. Our Favorite Local Publications We Can’t Wait to See


The Boston publishing community is alive and well…. and led by womxn!

Mooneaters Collective is a platform for Asian and Pacific Islander American queer stories. Based in Boston and founded by Ailin Lu, Crystal Bi Wegner, and Lily Xie, Mooneaters publishes work ranging from illustration, photography, poetry, and narrative. We promise you’ll want to scoop up every copy you can get.

GRLSQUASH is a bi-annual publication situated at the intersection of food, art, womxn, and culture. It’s delicious, colorful, and sometimes the published stories therein make me cry because they’re so wholesome and powerful. Don’t forget to pre-order their latest issue while you’re at it!

Paper Napkin was founded by Emma Ruff as a space by and for industry service workers in the Boston area. Serving up interviews, essays, poetry, and artwork, this publication departs from most literary publications in that it also provides crucial information surrounding organizing, activism, and workers rights in the service industry. We can’t wait to see what they’re bringing to the fair this year!

5. Some Out-of-Towners We’re so Glad are Here! 


Loren Ipsum Photography

he best part about art book fairs is getting to see your art book fair friends. Together, we show off our newest titles since last seeing one another and push through the exhaustion of exhibiting all weekend long. Here are a few visiting publishers you don’t want to pass by.

Draw Down Books was our art book fair neighbor last year, and let me tell you, they are a powerhouse! Since 2012, Draw Down has published small books about graphic design, typography, illustration, photography, art, and architecture. Graphic design folks: this one’s for you.

Amadeus holds a special place in our hearts. We met them at the first Boston Art Book Fair when Boston Art Review was just an “idea” and they gave us the encouragement we needed to get our feet off the ground. Fun fact about Amadeus: they were founded by Alex Khatchadourian right here in Boston before heading out to sunny skies in Los Angeles. Snag a few of their back issues to read stellar interviews with artists and culture creators from around the globe.

Put A Egg on It is a bi-annual art and literary magazine that really jump-started the buzz around indie food mags back in 2008. Famously printed on light green paper, each issue contains stories, poetry, and artwork surrounding experiences with food. They’re quirky, fun, and totally heartfelt, and we think they rock.

And on Top of All That: Art


Photo Courtesy of the Boston Center for the Arts.

It’s Your Last Chance to Catch Shaka Dendy’s “Gestures of Incompleteness”  |  As this summer’s BCA Artist in Residence, Shaka Dendy created “Gestures of Incompleteness” a public art sculpture with a socially engaged backstory. This is your last chance to catch a glimpse of the installation on the BCA plaza before it comes down on November 11th. Read all about the process behind Dendy’s work in this Issue 04 exclusive interview with Anulfo Baez here.

End Your Night At the Opening Reception for the Drawing Show | 6-9 PM at the Mills Gallery  |  Curated by Chanel Thervil, “Field Notes: Lovers, Teachers and the Consciousness In Between” is the 26th Drawing Show at the Boston Center for the Arts. Head on over to the Mills Gallery (it’s only two doors down from the fair) to get a first glimpse at the work on view and toast to the featured artists.

What About Us?


Complete your collection at the Boston Art Book Fair!

Don’t worry, Boston Art Review will be there all weekend long with copies of Issues 01-04 for sale. PSA: We’re down to our final few BAR tote bags so you’d better act fast! We can’t wait to see you there.

Jameson Johnson

Team Member

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