The Tokyo Art Book Fair (TABF) started as the first book fair in Japan dedicated to art publications in 2009. Once annually, the TABF serves as a place for artists, galleries, and publishers of unique art books from both Japan and abroad to converge in Tokyo: where creators can engage in direct communication with guests about the allure of their creations. The 10th TABF hosted in 2019 unfolded as the largest incarnation of the event yet – home to over 300 exhibitors and welcoming over 35,000 visitors over a four day-span. The following year then saw the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure the health and safety of participants, the TABF made the decision of forgoing the in-person rendition of the event. Instead, the fair came to life in the realm of the virtual, recreated online under the name Virtual Art Book Fair (VABF). While preserving the core tenets of the TABF – direct communication between creators and visitors and a spirit of DIY-the VABF unfolded as an innovative, fun-filled platform realizable only through digital form.


This year, we will be hosting the TABF at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo from Thursday, October 28 until Sunday, October 31, 2021. That being said, the pandemic continues to exert significant influence not only on our own lives, but also on the independent publishing scene; for the 11th rendition of the TABF, we recognize that it will be difficult to host the fair in the same manner and scale as we have in the past. Artists and creators in the art book world have adapted to the pandemic, all while exploring different ways of creating different art books, zines, and other endeavors. We similarly believe it important to host the TABF while paying all due consideration to the situation we find ourselves in now, in 2021.


To ensure the safety and health of participants, we will be hosting the in-person TABF 2021 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT Venue) at a reduced scale – limiting both the number of exhibitors and of visitors to the venue. We also recognize that many participants will not be able to visit the physical fair; to that end, we will concurrently launch an online version of the TABF (Internet Venue) while drawing from our experience hosting the VABF in 2020. The 2021 rendition will feature a wide array of exhibitor booths at both the in-person and virtual venues, while unveiling a number of special exhibits. Among them will be an exhibition of posters by 2020Solidarity, a project launched by artist Wolfgang Tillmans’ non-profit organization Between Bridges; 2020Solidarity aims to provide support to cultural and music venues, community projects, independent spaces, and publications. Other endeavors include an exhibit drawing attention to domestic and international art books, zines, and other printed matters created during the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite our guests to look forward to an all-new embodiment of the TABF, present both in the physical and virtual worlds.


We will host a variety of exhibitions at our in-person venue, where visitors are can get a multi-faceted look at the allure of art books and publications.


2020 Solidarity Posters

The spring of 2020 saw the onset of an unprecedented crisis, which dealt a harsh blow to the world of art. In response, Between Bridges – a non-profit organization founded by Wolfgang Tillmans – launched the 2020Solidarity project, dedicated to supporting independent spaces, events, and publishers in the art and music scenes in the face of the COVID pandemic. Over 50 artists have pledged their support to the project, including Nicole Eisenman, Gillian Wearing, Isa Genzken, William Eggleston, Peter Hujar, Daido Moriyama, Jeff Koons, Luc Tuymans, Thomas Ruff, Raymond Pettibon, and more. The artists provided each one image for the project to use in creating and printing posters. 98 different organizations in 21 countries offered the posters for sale to gain income during the corona crises. Participants from Japan include POST, Utrecht, twelvebooks, torch press, amala, IACK, clinic, daitokai, ASAKUSA, and LVBD BOOKS. The 2020Solidarity project ran from April 9 until August 10, 2020.


For this year’s TABF, we will be exhibiting the full 2020Solidarity poster collection, with a selection of posters available for sale to visitors. Fair-comers will also be able to read through various messages and testimonials provided by participating spaces and entities.


Covid “Positive”

Independent publishers have an aptitude for being able to render their ideas into form with lighting speed. They turn their eyes towards subject matter that we are inclined to shirk away from, posit content considered negative in a positive light, and turn our attention to things in our lives that we overlook. We have witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic through the media, while individuals and smaller organizations have relayed their own news and experiences on the internet and social media. The COVID “Positive” exhibition delves into speculation on the post-COVID world by way of art books, and will feature different publications and works revolving around the pandemic from across the world. Works on display will include zines detailing the days of quarantine, art books of projects seeking ways to enjoy life with COVID, photography collections centering on essential workers, and more.



With the onset of the pandemic, we are left with fewer opportunities to view and interact with art books and zines from abroad. Onward from 2015, the TABF began hosting Guest Country, an annual segment that focuses on the publishing culture of a certain country or region; but instead of narrowing our sights onto a particular region, this year we instead focus our attention to published goods from all around the world. The 2021 TABF will feature a vast vending machine for art books, the ART BOOK VENDING MACHINE (ABVM), at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, while concurrently exhibiting and selling art books and zines published by virtual venue exhibitors from overseas onward from 2019.


Virtual Exhibitors’ Library

At the Virtual Exhibitor’s Library, we will be exhibiting samples of art books and zines published by virtual venue exhibitors based within Japan onward from 2019. Should you find a book or zine that catches your eye, you can purchase it at the virtual venue.





Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (In-person Venue)
TABF Website (Virtual Venue)


Fair Period:
Thursday, October 28 – Sunday, October 31, 2021 (In-person Venue)
Friday, October 22 – Sunday, October 31, 2021 (Virtual Venue)


Entrance Fee:
1,000 JPY (for In-person Venue, tax included)
Free (Virtual Venue)


Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,
The Tokyo Art Book Fair