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June 2014 / Diary / by Cassia Geller


It’s been twenty years at least since we first heard print was dead, since every ilk of author was told to get digital or get another day job, but those pages keep a-turning. We still hide out in our favourite literary haunts, weep indulgently into love-worn tearjerkers (Kindles don’t really cut it on the water resistant front) and feign cultural superiority through our coffee table books – and, thank Gutenberg, a shiny new issue of Fabric touches down with a satisfying thud each month. Print is still very much alive and kicking, say we.

This week, the ICA and Claire De Rouen Books celebrate this staying power with a three-day ode to the art of print – specifically, art in print – art book fair Room&BookFabric’s photography editor, Matthew Beaman, tells us more:

“Art and photography books have always been highly collectable, but in recent years there has been a real boom in the market, with some books becoming highly sought after and valuable. At the forefront of this surge is rare photography bookstore Claire De Rouen Books, on Charing Cross Road. It has a legendary status amongst collectors and photography enthusiasts for its carefully-curated selection of new, limited edition and out-of-print books.

‘We’re are experiencing a golden age in publishing – from a cultural perspective, it’s as vital as ever and sitting comfortably within our digital age. I hope Room&Book will celebrate the abundant creation, distribution and collection of all kinds of art publications.’  – Lucy Moore, Director, Claire de Rouen Books

Room&Book is a collaboration between the ICA and Claire de Rouen; it’s a new three-day art book fair which will bring together the best specialist bookshops and dealers in the UK. Each of the book dealers will present a selection of their most iconic books from the past 30 years, alongside in-print publications they predict will be the coveted books of the future ­– the perfect chance to begin your art book collection.”

He’s not wrong – with expert advice from connoisseurs in all things arty and printy, plus discussions, readings and workshops, it’s the ideal opportunity to get honing that cultural superiority stance.

6-8 June. Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y (020 7930 3647; www.ica.org.uk)

Photo: Giles Deacon at Claire de Rouen Books, Jane Stockdale for Riposte magazine, 2013