Fairs | February 2009 | Ann Loftin

Overwhelmed by CODEX

I have been overwhelmed by the impact of my first CODEX experience, the fine press event in California this week. Walking around this fair is like having Beethoven and Picasso and Proust sitting behind tables of their work, all willing to show you how they do it. There are some California artists who work for Booklyn who are so brilliantly, darkly, and insanely funny that I started crying from laughing so hard. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there are some artists whose work is so highly serious, so deeply civilized, so cultured, so refined, one can hardly bear to talk to them. 

David Jury's giant hardbound book about Codex 2007, only $60 and an amazing work in and of itself.
It is easy to feel like a total novice in this world. I spent the entire day, and most of yesterday, completely immersed in these books and these remarkable people who make them. I've made dozens of friends, and I think my desire to learn, and some speck of native intelligence, have come across.

That said, it is very difficult to express what I'm learning in words. All I can say by way of gossip is that Mark Dimunation, the LofC's fine press guy, was moving down the aisles of the ballroom like an ocean liner, and that Earl "Duke" Collier of Genzyme was also observed on the prowl.

But there's not enough buying going on. I babysat the table of Richard Goodman's next fine press artist, who is superb, while she looked around, and I hawked her books to anyone who came near, but by the end of the day she hadn't made a sale. I fell in love with Barbarian Press and so many others... I found a very interesting guy, Ken Botnick of Emdash Press, who wants to write an article about India for us.

Next up, the California ABAA antiquarian book fair. Will people come? Will they be buying? We'll soon find out.

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