4. Printed Matter (231 Eleventh Avenue)
Even from the outside, Printed Matter is clearly dedicated to promoting visual art.
If you’re looking for a complete change of pace, you might want to stop in at Printed Matter, in Chelsea. A thoroughly established New York institution in the art scene since the mid-seventies, Printed Matter seeks to promote “artists’ publications,” or books conceived by artists. The store defines the content of the books it sells as “artwork for the page,” and hosts exhibitions of these books throughout the year. Its biggest event is the New York Art Book Fair, which it presents annually to feature the work of upcoming book artists in the city. The bookstore, whose space functions very much like a gallery in that it is usually swathed in the material of its most recent exhibition, is a non-profit organization primarily dedicated to promoting the concept of book art; their website is filled with resources for aspiring artists, and the store itself puts on several lectures for visiting classes all year long.
(When you’re done at Printed Matter, be sure to stroll on over to its literary next-door neighbor, 192 Books, Chelsea’s most beloved neighborhood general interest bookseller.)