The In Print fair at Hansen House shines a spotlight on art books

For organizers Danielle Gorodenzik and Jenna Romana, the idea for an art book fair started percolating way before it became a reality.

ORGANIZERS JENNA ROMANO (far left)  and Danielle Gorodenzik  (left), at last year’s In Print Art Book Fair. (photo credit: NOAM RIVKIN-PANTON)
ORGANIZERS JENNA ROMANO (far left) and Danielle Gorodenzik (left), at last year’s In Print Art Book Fair.
(photo credit: NOAM RIVKIN-PANTON)
For organizers Danielle Gorodenzik and Jenna Romano, the idea for an art book fair started percolating way before it became a reality. The two women were colleagues at the magazine Telavivian, both writers, both sharing a love of cultural offerings and both loving Jerusalem’s cultural scene. They also shared a passion for reading and contemporary art so, to no surprise, a friendship soon developed.
That blossomed into the two becoming founding partners of In Print, an independent art book fair based in Jerusalem. They founded In Print in 2016, and are opening the second iteration of the In Print Art Book Fair at Hansen House Center for Design Media and Technology from December 18-20.
Romano says, “We wanted to create something new that would add to the Jerusalem art scene both for those active in it and especially for the wider public. We wanted to make it very accessible for general audiences and that will still speak to those actively involved as creators.”
Last year’s In Print fair attracted over 1,000 people over a two-day period. Sales were brisk. The format this time will be similar, with the fair displaying a select sale of art books, special edition artists’ books, catalogues, artistic magazines, and independently printed zines.
Romano says, “The selections are fully-curated by In Print, resulting in something between an exhibition and a fair, with sleek arrangement of tables, highlighting the books. “ This description contrasts with the large national book fairs more widely known to the public, such as National Hebrew Book Week, which usually takes place in June.
Gorodenzik was a printmaker at Parsons School of Design where she earned her BFA, followed by an MFA in curatorial studies from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Her enthusiasm for printmaking helped bring about the idea for the book fair.
“Artist books are a way of transferring information, they act as an archive and are lasting – they become part of library collections. They are accessible and affordable both to the average person and to collectors,” says Gorodenzik.
Artist books are not books about art; the artist creates them as the art itself. Though they were also made in the early part of the 20th century and associated with some art movements such as Dada and Futurism, they mostly became a late 20th-century art form.
A book is a more intimate object than artwork requiring walls or large space to display. The artist has a lot of control over how it is presented and what is included. It can also reach the common person who may not step foot in an art gallery.
The artist book may be in a traditional codex format, or become more sculptural in appearance. Some are made in a concertina fold-out style, some in a scroll format, and some are just loose objects in a box. The pages themselves may extend beyond the book’s bindings, and have cut-outs or additions adhered. Existing books may be altered and repurposed by the artist as new creations. If the artist calls it a book, it is a book.
ZINES ARE special independently published art works, traditionally made from inexpensive materials, often culturally underground and printed in small runs, sometimes by photocopier.
“They can be relatively cheap, starting at NIS 20 but can go as high as NIS 10,000 at the fair. They often include special art script, either with images and text by a single creator, or the artist may invite another author to write about the artwork, perhaps reacting to the topic or responding to the art,” says Gorodenzik. “In zines, the text is just as important as the art. Zine publishing is really accessible and cheap. It has grown from low-end to more lavish. The artist may be making an art piece that is a unique one-of-a-kind or a small edition done in silk screen, etching, or collage.”
Romano lives in Jerusalem and is intimately acquainted with Jerusalem’s art world. She founded in 2015, an online guide to Jerusalem’s contemporary art scene. She also offers custom-tailored tours of unique exhibition spaces, art galleries, and private visits to artist studios. She completed her BA in museum studies at Arizona State University Herberger Institute and is finishing her MA in art history at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Romano says, “We represent over 200 author/artists all from diverse and eclectic backgrounds including better-known names. We also offer exhibition catalogues which may come from local institutions such as the Jerusalem Print Workshop, the Tel Aviv Artists House, the Mamuta Gallery and other Jerusalem and Tel Aviv galleries.”
Photographer’s books are both self-published and from professional publishing houses. The international publishers participating in the fair are located in Berlin, Chicago, New York, London and India. Hebrew, English, Arabic and Spanish books are available.
Romano continues, “Types of books range widely from the personal to the artist’s observation of their surroundings, from language to poetry, and because this is in Jerusalem, religion and politics also are very much present. The diversity of subject matter and of creators makes it likely that everyone will find something with which they can connect.”
In Print recently participated in the Chicago International Art Book Fair with a small selection of the books they represent. They underwrote the effort through a supportive community head start campaign. Enlisting their Facebook followers, personal emails, Instagram accounts, Romano and Gorodenzik not only met their goals, they exceeded them, covering the costs of the Chicago fair, and applying the excess funds toward the coming fair at Hansen House.
Romano says, “If last year is any indication, the coming fair will appeal to anyone who enjoys art, collecting, and purchasing.... All are welcome, it is a great free event.”
The In Print Art Book Fair at Hansen House Center for Design Media and Technology, December 18-20, 2019.
December 18, 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m. - opening reception
December 19, 3 p.m.-11:30 p.m. - artist talks
December 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. - artist talks