Friday, December 19, 2008

Boekie Woekie

Boekie Woekie ("Bookie Wookie") is one of the world's foremost speciality stores for handmade and limited edition books by artists. The tiny shop, tucked into a side street in central Amsterdam, is packed floor-to-ceiling with precious hand drawn tracts, silk screened folios of Dadaist poetry, original photocopied zines from the 1970's, odd collections of fluxus-era artifacts signed by George Maciunas himself - a dragon's lair of riches. I was overcome.

In the store for more than 90 minutes, only two other people ventured in. One man was thinking to find paperback novels. One woman came in looking for photocopy paper. Both left shaking their heads. Boekie Woekie, which has existed in one form or another since the mid 1980's, clearly does not survive based on casual browsing by locals. Rather, International book fairs and the internet have allowed the store to persevere if not quite flourish. Collectors from around the world shop on the store's quirky and extensive website, or consider themselves lucky to encounter the Boekie Woekie stall in Frankfurt or Guadalajara.

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