Post by Kat Schneider

PMFV_lootThis past weekend, Baltimore collective Open Space once again brought together over 80 talented vendors in the D Center on North Avenue as part of the 5th annual Publications & Multiples Fair. The fair celebrates the many artists, galleries and independent publishers devoted to producing their work in multiple, whether it be zines, prints, publications, art objects or wearable merchandise. This year’s fair on March 8-9, 2014 had the added bonus of a full schedule of related events, including a series of hasty (and often humorous) 5-minute presentations on editing and curatorial strategies delivered in a lecture hall at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and an afternoon ‘Poetry Brunch’ that featured readings by PMF V exhibitors at local bar The Crown. In the later hours, a number of satellite openings, performances and screenings drew crowds at popular Station North/Mount Vernon art venues, such as Springsteen Gallery, sophiajacob, Current Space, Rock512Devil, and the Floristree.

The atmosphere of the PMF is irresistibly positive; the event fosters a buzz of creative energy and community tinged with the giddy notes of approaching spring. Admission to the fair is free, allowing attendees to save their cash for all the really rad merchandise being sold at the tables. And PMF V vendors did not disappoint! Lesser Gonzales Alvarez presented an array of ‘Double Gulps’ —insanely oversized concrete sculptures resembling the familiar 7-11 drink, complete with mahogany straws— in addition to his book Morbid Belly Aching, which he read from at the Poetry Brunch event. The very talented Rachel Younghans returned with her airbrush gear, to the delight of eager fair attendants brandishing blank garments. Meanwhile at the Eggfreak table, amazing metal hardware and clear PVC chain collars handmade by Izabelle New were flying off the baby blue faux-fur shelves, alongside a collaborative petite pink volume entitled New Age Erotic Fiction, and the latest issue of Kelley McNutt’s zine Freaker. Newcomer 57Cell featured a gorgeous and eerie double-publication of inaccessible 3d-rendered environments (Julie Leidner- Stone Age DayDream/ Juliette Bonneviot- Minimal Jeune Fille). Some familiar NY-based publications had tables as well, such as Beauty Today and Capricious.

Given the hardship of losing their gallery/residence last summer, the members of Open Space have successfully made this the most expansive PMF yet. The PMF V debuted over 25 more vendors than were present last year, with 35 of them repping cities outside of Baltimore. The D Center, host to the PMF for the past two years, now shares its block of North Ave. with Red Emma’s radical bookstore, which recently relocated to an exceptionally large and airy space on the corner of Maryland Ave. MICA’s newly modernized studio center complex is right across the street. Given Open Space’s emphasis on artistic community and forging new working and collaborative relationships, it will be interesting to see if future PMFs still retain the relatively small-scale intimacy of PMF V, or expand toward becoming more city-wide events.

Kat Schneider is an avid reader, interdisciplinary artist, writer and cinefile. She recently returned to her native New York after completing her BFA in Sculpture and Video at MICA in Baltimore, MD. Her work often involves editing pre-existing environments and digital material to create new hierarchies. She is also a big fan of peach gummies, writing letters, taking surveys, astrological birthcharts, and clogging her desktop with massive amounts of random .jpgs. Check out some of her videos on vimeo.com/katschneider or follow her Instagram: @dogpssi.

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