The Book Fair, P.S. 3, and Me
31st annual Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair. The fair benefits and takes place at P.S. 3. Dubbed “The Hippie School,” PS 3 is, by all accounts, a creative and nurturing, if not alternate, educational environment. There is something engaging about going back to elementary school to look at books you should either have read or paid more attention to way back when. The atmosphere at this fair is indeed laid back and accessible—“homey” is how event coordinator Loretta Tassotti termed it, befitting an event run by parent volunteers.Coming up this weekend is the
I’ve attended the GVABF—not the greatest acronym ever—at least 15 times, though for the first time this year as a dealer instead of a shopper. This decision I made on Monday, in time to land a booth next to the exit, and I’ve been poring, researching, prepping, and pricing steadily since then. Financial considerations factored in the decision, as did visions of sugarplums—dealers get pick of the litter at shows—but the scales were tipped by a sudden, overwhelming urge to purge. I’ve been collecting books for upwards of twenty years, and truth be told I have too many books. I’m not sure how many is too many, but when you are storing 60 boxes of books in storage units, the issue should be looked into.
The thing about purging is, once you start it is hard to stop. The whole process is liberating, in this case literally (liber-ating). Deaccessioning objects is the yang to the yin of collecting them. By the time I finished going through my bookcases (see the wall of books pictured here) and the boxes in storage, I had allocated about 300 books for sale. This decimates my collection (again, literally), but I feel great. Too, as I discovered when I had a gallery, books generate conversation and goodwill—pretty much everyone interested in design and architecture is interested in books about design and architecture. So this weekend promises to be entertaining, though whether it will be remunerative is in the hands of the book gods.
Highlights of the purge, to be offered this weekend, include:
· A run of the brilliantly edited industrial design magazine “Stile Industria” from the mid to late 1950’s.
· Two annual editions of the scarce and important reference “Furniture Forum” from 1952 and 1963.
· An early edition of the seminal book “Technology and Civilization.” Not a first edition, but signed by the author, Lewis Mumford.
· A first edition of “Decoration: Tradition et Nouveau, the rare and prized 1973 tome on interior decoration represented here by a randomly selected page.
· Multiple issues—some twenty in all—of “Decorative Art,” a British publication that surveys various fields of design.
On the bubble are two issues of the journal “Pencil Points” from 1937—one dedicated to the work of Richard Neutra, the other to Walter Dorwin Teague. I’ve had these for years,and am hesitant to part with them, but more importantly I can’t find any price references for them—there do not appear to be any examples on the market now, so I’m not sure if the ridiculously high prices I’ve seen assigned to them in the past still apply. I’m definitely holding onto my first edition of Frankl’s “Form and Reform” with the scarce-to-the-point-of-nonexistent dust jacket. Some lines cannot be crossed.
The Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair features a roster of 60 dealers handling rare books and ephemera in a wide range of subjects. Hours are Friday evening 6-10; Saturday 12-6; and Sunday 12-5. Location is P.S. 3, 490 Hudson Street. Say hello to me, if you think of it, on your way out.