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LA Art Book Fair cancelled over fear of spread of coronavirus

Decision on MOCA event affects over 350 exhibitors from around two dozen countries

A view of the 2017 LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Jori Finkel

One of the most popular and crowded art events in town each year, the LA Art Book Fair is now one of the latest casualties of the coronavirus. Printed Matter, the organiser of the fair, has cancelled this edition, which was to take place on 3 to 5 April at the Geffen Contemporary branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles.

The decision affects over 350 exhibitors from about two dozen countries who planned on offering scholarly books, artists’ books, prints, magazines and ephemera—from small, experimental presses to the publishing arms of major museums (such as Getty Publications) and powerhouse galleries (like Marian Goodman, Gagosian, David Kordansky, Hauser & Wirth and Blum and Poe). The event typically draws some 30,000 people over its three-day run who view and also handle these materials.

Printed Matter noted the cancellation in a statement today. “We have been closely monitoring the escalating spread of coronavirus Covid-19 outbreaks in California and globally, and in light of recent news and advisories, it will not be feasible to stage the fair in a way in which everyone's safety can be assured,” it says.

In an email about the various measures it is are taking to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, MOCA added: “The festival is a yearly highlight on MOCA’s calendar…. Although we will all miss it this year, we know cancelling it is in the best interest of everyone in the extended MOCA and LA Art Book Fair communities. The health and safety of our friends and neighbours are our top priority.”

The museum urged people to continue to support the work of presses and others that normally participate by visiting laabf2020.printedmatterartbookfairs.org/Exhibitors. The email was signed: “Be well and stay healthy.”