Patrons exploring the Melbourne Art Book Fair, NGV Great Hall, Melbourne Art Book Fair 2020. Photo: Tobias Titz
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Media Release • 11 Apr 24

NGV presents tenth year of Melbourne Art Book Fair

In May 2024, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) presents the 10th annual Melbourne Art Book Fair (MABF), a state-wide celebration of art book publishing and Melbourne’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature. Over 11 days, from 23 May to 2 June 2024, the Fair will enliven venues across Melbourne and Victoria with book launches, talks, exhibitions and more, including a special in-conversation with art historian Katy Hessel, a TV gameshow pop-up and showcase art and design publishing from across Australia and beyond.

Esteemed British author, art historian and founder of The Great Women Artists podcast, Katy Hessel will be joined by NGV Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, Simone LeAmon for the live conversation, Katy Hessel in Conversation: The Story of Art Without Men on 29 May. Presented by NGV and The Wheeler Centre, Hessell will discuss her book, The Story of Art Without Men, in which she interrogates who is included in the history of art, as well as her extensive work in uncovering women artists throughout history, from Australia and across the world.

From 24 – 26 May, Melbourne Art Book Fair transforms the NGV’s Great Hall into a marketplace of art books, publishing and design. Featuring more than 100 stallholders, including an Indonesian focus with Binatang Press and KRACK! Studio, the Stallholder Fair also features two constantly rotating displays, including a spotlight on Melbourne’s zine culture curated by Sticky Institute and a display featuring a rotating roster of emerging publishers that allows audiences to explore new imprints each day. A highlight of Melbourne’s cultural calendar, more than 20,000 people visited the three-day Stallholder Fair in 2023.

During MABF, Type-Set, presented by the NGV and Human Love Quest, features an array of pop-up talks, interviews and activities in a retro TV gameshow-inspired set. The event offers audiences enduringly popular gameshow formats with an art, design and publishing twist, including a quiz show that will test participants’ publishing trivia knowledge and in-depth interviews with artists, designers and bookmakers in a setting redolent of late-night talk shows.

A highlight from the Type-Set program includes Matcher in the Rye, a raucous dating show-inspired presentation hosted by Xander Allan, Conor Gallacher, and The Captain (Alex Reid) where participants can find their perfect ‘bookish’ match. Blending the nostalgic charm of classic television dating shows with contemporary art, design and publishing themes, Matcher in the Rye reimagines the traditional match-making format and invites hopefuls to ask the important questions: Do they own a kindle? How many books have they actually read in their collection? And do they only buy art books for the pretty pictures?

Other highlights from the Stallholder Fair include Lillian Ahkenkan aka FlexMami presenting The Art of Good Conversation inviting visitors to respond live to a question from a new set of her much-loved ReFlex conversation cards to explore all things art and design.

Future Press, presented by Kids Own Publishing, brings the art of bookmaking to life in a custom-designed vibrant creative space for children and families. In a dedicated publishing hub, kids are the writers, illustrators and designers of their own limited edition eight-page book. Guided by Kids’ Own Publishing, visitors are encouraged to play with materials and explore the gallery for inspiration. Over the MABF weekend at NGV, these young publishers will have the opportunity to launch their books in front of the Melbourne Art Book Fair audience on the main stage.

A focus on zine making will feature across the program, with a section of MABF participants curated by Sticky Institute. Across Victoria, there will be zine making workshops run by local artists in Melbourne CBD, at The Workshoppery in Ballarat; and Geelong locals G: Zines launch their new zine vending machine plus offer interactive workshops at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.

In addition to events taking place in Ballarat and Castlemaine, the Melbourne Art Book Fair satellite program expands into Geelong and the Surf Coast region for the very first time, with a special publishing edition of May’d Arts Festival taking place on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June at Creative Geelong Centrepoint Arcade, an art book edition of Gallery Tots at the Geelong Gallery and more at the Geelong Arts Centre.

Extending along the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula, the regional program also features discussions with local designers and publishers in Barwon Heads. Regional Arts Victoria and the Melbourne Art Book Fair will also present an extended panel discussing independent publishing on the Surf Coast.

On Friday 24 May, NGV International will also host Student Day Out, which comprises a special suite of programs tailored to Melbourne’s university students. The day opens with a live recording of SYN Radio’s flagship arts and cultural program Art Smitten, followed by a host of creative career sessions for young people looking for career pathways into Victoria’s Creative Industries.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Growing out of the success of art book fairs in key creative hubs such as Mexico, Tokyo and New York, the Melbourne Art Book Fair has grown in reputation and ambition over the past decade to become a true mainstay of Victoria’s cultural calendar. Bringing together local and international publishers, artists, and designers, the Fair fosters a rich exchange of ideas between industry professionals and art book enthusiasts alike.’

Presented as part of Melbourne Design Week, the 10th annual Melbourne Art Book Fair will run from 23 May – 2 June 2024 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, as well as various venues across Victoria.

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