Tuesday, April 19, 2011

MoCCA 2011

I spent the first day of MoCCA 2011 far away from the Armory, hanging with Philly friends of various ages and descriptions. On Sunday, I arrived with A and P and we hit the floor. B showed up later and we ended up having a good MoCCA:

I find the armory to be a rather glum space, but it does have a few things going for it:
--a tantalizing mezzanine
--a very Age-of-Aquarius 69 motif throughout, engaging the military use of the building in a sexy swirl of counterpoint
--wooden phone booths, as modeled here by A.:

There were far fewer minis and prints than I hoped for. As stated by everyone else in the world, the price of tables is forcing many minimakers out of the fest. Since I am mainly interested in comics and art with that handmade touch this is very disappointing, but unsurprising. I noticed a ton of slicker, stupider-looking, and/or child-oriented stuff, as well as the arrival of iPads for displaying art. None of this stuff really made me want to look further; I wish I had been able to spend more time on the floor, asking around about hot books. Last year newspaper anthologies were all the rage. I didn't see as many this time around, but that could be my own blindspot. Ugly ass neon melty faces still sadly dominate the print subject matter, but I did manage to find one silkscreen that was large and lovely, by Mark Burrier (see below), that didn't look like a poorly-raised Ft. Thunder/Basil Wolverton love child. As usual, I missed a few books I was looking forward to including CCS anthologies and Finders Keepers #3.

And, now, some of the many people and things I saw and bought, spottily and unskillfully photographed by myself:

Ah MAh GAh Breathers, one of our fave minis, is a book now, Justin Madsen does not say to me

Charles Forsman and Melissa Mendes make me happy

Anna Raffi is a master saleswoman

Alexandra Beguez belies her student status

Alabaster's website is broken!

Morgan Pielli is the only person is a Robin shirt that I would happily talk to

M. Jacob Alvarez means serious business

Mark Burrier and friend were wisely camera-shy

L. Nichols and Darryl Ayo are shining stars of joy

As are these portraits of B and I by L.

The requisite floor shots:

And a note about dissonance: Perhaps exhibitors would be less touchy about higher prices if the fundraising aspect of the MoCCA fest, that is supporting the museum, directly benefited the community. The museum's programming generally feels stuck in the past--perhaps a few more exhibits and events showcasing students, local, national and international self-publishers and small presses, or an artist-in-residence program, could create more goodwill in the community and at the same time increase awareness and support of the museum. As an attendee, I don't really feel like paying such a high door price to support a museum I have no interest in going to, ya dig? Next year it is quite possible that I won't. What do you think?


Kelly said...

Great write-up!
"didn't look like a poorly-raised Ft. Thunder/Basil Wolverton love child" made me laugh. Funny, I went with a non-comics-loving friend who walked out with nothing but Mark Burrier stuff.

kenan said...

This all strikes me as spot-on.

The move away from minis and hand-made idiosyncrasy seems, though, not to be unique to MoCCA. It was certainly evident at Stumptown this weekend, and has been a notable trend at APE a few years running. All these shows are getting pricier, which may be to blame in every case, but I'm starting to suspect there's a broader issue of zeitgeist at play; the scene's newest comers are more comfortable with digital arts than the rest of us, and maybe just don't share our affection for books as objects.

MrColinP said...

Haha "Ugly ass neon melty faces" YES.

I think you solved all of MoCCA's problems at the end of this post. Hope they are smart enough to listen!

Here's my Saturday only show report, complete with matching books on wood floor shot:

Sara said...

I saw and bought some stuff I liked, but I agree with you about the paucity of handmade touchy-feely delights. The book fair at PS1 this past fall actually packed more of a punch in that department. It's nice to have some options in terms of book fairs, but I'm a little sad that I wasn't as amazed an inspired at MOCCA this year. I was also disappointed that D & Q sold out of the new Chester Brown before I could get my claws on it. On the up side, we went to the Comics Journal party and it was really fun; usually after MOCCA I'm either too tired to party or dismayed by the options!

Alexandra Beguez said...

Hey Carrie,

Thank you for writing me up on your blog and picking up a copy of my book! :-)

I don't know if you have ever visited the Brooklyn Comics and Graphic Festival, but they have more of the hand-made minis/art you are looking for, although it's more of a curated show. I agree there were less silkscreen/hand-made wares at MoCCA this year, which made me sad. I sometimes stay away from digitally produced things at these fests (because that's what regular bookstores are for).