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After the flood, art still “Matters”

Printed Matter may be nearing middle age, but the 37-year-old organization shows no sign of slowing down. From its beginnings in New York as an alternative venue for artists’ books, Printed Matter has grown into a publishing house, educational database, bookshop, event space, and gallery. In 2006, it launched the annual NY Art Book Fair at MoMA’s PS1. This month, Printed Matter put on the first LA Art Book Fair at that city’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

When I was a bibliographic intern at the nonprofit last year, it was hard to imagine anything shaking the unflappable organization, or the Chelsea storefront it has called home since 2005. But then, last October, Hurricane Sandy hit New York. Floodwaters devastated Printed Matter’s basement, which was filled with archival material and the bulk of the store’s inventory. I spoke with Adam O’Reilly, the organization’s development coordinator, about the ways Printed Matter’s work has changed because of the storm and how its nonprofit status has helped it recover.

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