The Artsy Guide to IFPDA: 7 Points to Prep You for New York’s Annual Print Fair

Originating in China in the 9th century, around the same time that paper came into use, printmaking first developed not just as an artistic medium, but as a mode of documenting and disseminating images, ideas, stories, current events… Now, a thousand or so years later, the print remains relevant and is celebrated as a fine art, notably during New York City’s Print Week. Running over the course of the first week of November (the 3rd – 9th), Print Week brings to the city a robust program of events, including exhibits, lectures, gallery talks, and openings (a full schedule of which can be perused online). Learn up on what distinguishes a linocut from a lithograph, view prints by masters from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to Cy Twombly, and visit of some of the city’s most celebrated museums. The highlight of the week is the annual Print Fair presented by the International Fine Print Dealers’ Association (IFPDA), where you’ll have the opportunity to browse and purchase a superb selection of fine prints from old masters to contemporary icons. Here, we give you all the details you’ll need when planning your visit to the fair. 

1. When? Where? How?

The IFPDA Print Fair opens to the public November 6th at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, with daily hours of 12-8 p.m.; the fair wraps up Sunday November 9th, with shortened hours from 12-6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online, and are available as One Day passes for $20 ($10 for students and seniors), Two Day passes for $30, or Full passes for $40; children under the age of 12 are welcome free of charge. A guide to the fair and its participating IFPDA members is offered to all visitors free upon admission. 

2. What is the IFPDA?

Founded in 1987, the International Fine Print Dealers’ Association, or IFPDA, is a non-profit organization of art dealers, galleries, and publishers dedicated to promotion and preservation of fine prints. The current 165 members represent 13 countries worldwide, making the association 33 times larger than it was less than three decades ago. In addition to organizing the annual Print Fair, the IFPDA provides grants to various other organizations to support the development of exhibitions, scholarly publications, and educational programs regarding fine prints. Each year, the association also presents the author of one outstanding fine print-related publication with the IFPDA Book Award, a $2,000 prize.

3. What is the Print Fair? 

An annual event, the Print Fair assembles a museum-quality selection of prints under one roof, drawing major curators and collectors. This year’s edition sees 90 members of the IFPDA presenting works that span nearly 500 years of printmaking history—Old Masters, Japanese prints, 19th- and 20th-century American masters, European Impressionists and Modernists, and German Expressionists will all be represented by the works available. Participating editions publishers will also be premiering new editions at the fair. Some exhibitors to look out for include: Pace Prints, The Paragon Press, Barbara Krakow Gallery, Two Palms, Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, Alan Cristea Gallery, and Tamarind Institute. Browse the full list of exhibitors online

4. Hear from an author and an artist

Two lectures will be given at the Armory during the fair, which are perfect additions to your schedule of print week programming. Both talks are free to attend, though reservations are recommended. 

Friday Nov. 7th: Dr. Jonathan Black will host a lecture titled “‘The Most Fascinating City in the World’: C.R.W. Nevinson and his New York Prints, 1919-1921,” to be held at 3 p.m. in the Colonel Room. Dr. Black recently published a monograph of C.R.W. Nevinson’s complete works, and his talk will focus on the influence New York City had on Nevinson’s printmaking during the early 20th century. 

Saturday Nov. 8th: Mel Bochner will present the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation Lecture, to be held at 11 a.m. in the Board of Officers Rooms. Seats are already fully booked for this talk, but you may join the waitlist online.

5. Take a walk-through with a fine print expert

The fair has organized two special tours to be conducted over the weekend, offering unique perspectives on the vast array of prints on display. Each will be 45 minutes in length, and require pre-registration, which can be done online for $10

Saturday Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.: “Hidden Highlights” with Beth McKeown, registrar of contemporary prints and works on paper at the Brodsky Center, Rutgers University, will span all areas of the fair, focusing on a series of highlights from Old Masters to Contemporary. 

Sunday Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m.: “A Master Printer’s Perspective”with Phillip Sanders, founder of PS Marlowe Inc., former Master Printer for Universal Limited Art Editions and former Director of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, will examine historical printmaking processes and discuss contemporary technological developments. 

6. Sneak into the fair early 

Get early access to the fair before it opens to the public at The Opening Night Preview on Wednesday Nov. 5th, 6:30-9 p.m.. Party amongst the prints at this event to benefit the IFPDA Foundation; tickets can be purchased online for $85. 

7. The Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize

The Richard Hamilton Acquisition Prize, sponsored by Champion & Partners, awards up to $10,000 to one museum to make a purchase at the fair; this year’s recipient will be announced at the Opening Night Preview. The prize is named in honor of the late Richard Hamilton, who created many etchings and prints over the course of his long career. Past recipients of the Acquisition Prize include The British Museum in 2013 and The Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2012. 

Kate Haveles

Explore the IFPDA Print Fair 2014 on Artsy

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